Wednesday, 19 September 2018

JOHN’S BLOG – SEPTEMBER 2018


A lot has been going on here at HEYCU over the summer, so let’s have a catch up with our news:

Lanarkshire Credit Union Visit

We were delighted when Myra and Carolann of Lanarkshire Credit Union paid us a visit, and showed us the wonderful Savvy Savers game that they have developed to get children of all ages interested in good habits with money.  Jo Evans, our Goole Development Officer, is very excited about testing out the game with our Pennies 2 Pounds schools this autumn and has promised to give feedback to our friends in Lanarkshire.  Who said money management has to be dull?

Goole & District Members’ Group
On 20 July the Group arranged a Cupcake Day in the local branch to raise funds for HEYCU’s Charity of the Year, Aim Higher.  It created a lot of interest in the local community and raised over £100 from the sale of cupcakes and draw tickets.  A special “thank you” to our amazing credit union members and their friends who kindly baked cakes and buns to support the venture!

 
The Group’s next meeting on Wednesday 26 September from 6 pm returns to the Lowther Hotel in Aire Street for a fun evening including a chance to play Savvy Savers, a prize draw and an update on the branch improvements project.  All HEYCU members in the Goole & Howdenshire area are most welcome to come along.


Northern Lincolnshire Members to benefit from data merger
On 27 July we closed all branches earlier than usual to complete a data upgrade, which merged the Northern Lincolnshire and Hull & East Yorkshire parts of the organisation on to a common platform. NLCU members now have 24,000 added to their Member Number (so for example, NL member 1,080 becomes 25,080 in the enlarged credit union).   This means they can register on the HEYCU website to view their overnight balance and recent transactions, and they can use any HEYCU branch to make deposits and withdrawals with ease.  

Ongo Carnival
Once again our Credit Union had a stand at the Ongo Carnival which took place in brilliant weather in August.  Tracey and Sarah from our High Street, Scunthorpe branch were there to meet the crowds and explain how our safe savings and affordable loans help everyone make the most of their money.  It was a day out to remember.

Credit Unions now serve nearly 2 million people
The latest data published by the Bank of England, for the financial year 2017, illustrates the rapid of growth of the British credit union movement in the last decade. Since 2008, membership has increased from just over 650,000 members to just under 2 million, and they now have assets worth over £3.1 billion.
Credit unions in England now serve over 800,000 members, with £730 million in savings and over £500 million out on loan. Scotland’s credit unions serve almost 400,000 members, or 7.4% of the population. Credit unions particularly thrive in Glasgow where 25% of residents are members of their local credit union. Scottish members now have £520 million in savings and total assets of over £600 million.   Welsh credit unions are serving almost 80,000 people, who have £40 million in savings and are currently borrowing £22 million.
Meanwhile, figures published by the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) echo this growth on the global stage. In 2006 46,000 credit unions served 172 million people worldwide across 97 countries. However, the most recent WOCCU statistics show that by 2006 68,000 credit unions were serving over 235 million people in 109 countries. 
Clearly, credit unions are becoming more popular than ever. With nearly 2 million members in the UK it shows that more and more people from all walks of life trust credit unions as a place to save, as well as a great option for loans and other financial services.

“By the seaside, beside the sea…”
We have been working on exciting plans to expand HEYCU’s presence in Withernsea, with support from the Withernsea Big Local Steering Group.  Once approval is obtained from Big Local headquarters, they will be making a social investment in our credit union as part of their aim to improve the financial well-being of Withernsea residents over the next three years. 

I was pleased to be invited to speak at Withernsea Big Local’s annual public meeting in the Shores on 13 September when I outlined our vision for Withernsea to become a Credit Union Town, where local people can easily access responsible not-for-profit savings and loans, making it a “no go area” for “rip-off credit” such as doorstep lenders, payday lenders, weekly payment stores and loan sharks.  We’ll have a local development worker to build up business, support our volunteers and work with the community; wider opening hours and new school banks.  Those present were very supportive of the idea, and we can’t wait to get started!

Meanwhile, up the road at Hornsea, a group of residents and the Town Council asked us to consider opening there, after the town lost its last High Street bank.  We ran a consultation in Hornsea Community News over the summer to find out more about their needs, and it appears there would be some support for a weekly volunteer-run branch there.  Watch this space!

Goodbye Wonga
The end of the “payday lender” Wonga in August didn’t come as a total surprise, after it collapsed under the weight of complaints and compensation payouts relating to its activities before the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) clamped down in 2014 with an interest rate cap and other expectations about affordability assessments. 
Responding to the news, ABCUL Head of Policy & Communications, Matt Bland, said: “Few will shed a tear over the demise of Wonga, whose high-profile marketing and sports sponsorship at their peak made them by far the best-known payday lending brand.  But the closure of Wonga should not be confused with the end of high-cost lending.   While the FCA’s consumer credit regime produced some improvements in practices, lenders continue to grow and lend to people who find difficulty accessing mainstream credit.”
Personally, I have never warmed to the idea of so-called payday lending.  I believe it to be just a slick marketing term, invented by Wonga and others, to make a disreputable practice sound respectable.   What sounds like a great idea – just borrowing until next payday – was all too often a hook to lure people into a spiral of uncontrollable debt.  If you can’t manage until this pay day, what chance have you next time when, on top of all your usual bills, you’ve a high-cost payday loan to settle?  Hence the frequent need to roll-the debt over, and before you know it you’re saddled with a near permanent debt at 1000%+ APR.
Far better the credit union alternative, which has people’s financial well-being, not the lender’s profit at its heart.  We lend the smaller sums that banks won’t consider, but at reasonable rates of interest, and over sensible periods.  We also encourage people to save, which is the only long-term route out of a cycle of debt. 

Lord Mayor of Hull’s Centenary Plaque

We’re very honoured to have one of the Lord Mayor’s Centenary Plaques on our Hull Central branch building.  It commemorates Lord James Peddie, who was a leading figure in the co-operative movement from the 1930s to the 1960s.  As we are a co-operative, the Lord Mayor thought we would be a fitting location for his plaque.

The Lord Mayor’s Centenary Plaques were established to mark the 100 year anniversary of the creation of the role of Lord Mayor in Hull.  They recognise one hundred pioneers from our city that have achieved great distinction in their various fields, from scientists to explorers, ground breakers and campaigners who have made a difference on a local, national and international level but have their roots in Hull.    You can download an app, available FREE from Apple Store and Google Play and use it to find plaque locations and discover more about the Hull 100.

FitBit Prize Draw – hurry to get in the Prize Draw!
If you work for one of our payroll partners, there’s just a couple of weeks left to get yourself included in the Prize Draw to win a FitBit Alta Activity and Sleep Wristband (worth £99).  All you have to do is:
·        if you’re not a member already, join our Credit Union, and set up a payroll deduction for regular saving; or
·        if you are, refer a work colleague to do so.  We’ll pop you (and them) in the draw for each new member who joins on your referral.
But don’t delay, the offer closes at the end of September.

It’s that time again!

We are sorry to mention it but Christmas is on its way.  If you need some extra support to cope with the pressure on your purse or wallet that the festive season usually brings, look no further than your own Credit Union.  A Credit Union Christmas Loan is far cheaper than other small loan options including doorstep credit:


Lender
Loan £ over 52 weeks
Repayments per week £
Interest %APR
Total to repay £
Morses Club*
£400
£14.00
272.2%
£728.00
Provident*
£400
£14.40
299.3%
£748.80
Credit Union*
£400
£9.20
42.6%
£477.54
*information taken from websites, correct as at 17.9.18

Remember, we have a 5-star Fairbanking Mark for our Credit Union Loans, and you can save with us alongside your loan repayment, helping you to build up a handy sum for the future.   We also have a Child Benefit Loan & Savings Plan option, which is an ideal way for families to stretch their money further.

To find out more, click here or call our friendly team on 01482 778753 (M-F).

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

JOHN’S BLOG – JUNE 2018


A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEBT NEEDS YOU!
Do you remember the very successful morning BBC series TV last autumn called ‘A Matter of Life and Debt’?   This uplifting and positive series highlighted the important work done by credit unions up and down the country, as they helped people find loans to enrich or change their lives.
Well, it is returning to our screens in the autumn and the producers are looking for people to take part.  They would love to hear from you if you have:
·         taken out a loan in the past when you were in desperate need and wish to share your experience;
·         are planning on taking out a loan soon to bring about a positive change in your life; or
·         managed to overcome your debt problems with the help of the credit union and started saving as a result.
If you are interested in taking part, please send your contact details and a brief description of your story to the following email: lifeanddebt@curvemedia.comOr call the production team at Curve Media on 02920 329135.    If you prefer, you can speak to us here at the credit union and we can put you in touch. 

KEN FOSTER – ONE OF OUR FOUNDERS
We were sorry to learn of the recent death of Ken Foster, one of the founders of North Lincolnshire Credit Union.  Our Scunthorpe Branch activists have penned this tribute:
“Ken first became involved with the world of credit unions when he responded to an advertisement in the Scunthorpe Telegraph sponsored by North Lincolnshire Council, appealing for people to set up a steering group with a view to developing a Credit Union in Scunthorpe.
Ken was subsequently elected Chairman of the steering group and was passionate about pushing forward the development of a Credit Union as he could see the possible benefits for local people.  Everyone in the group attended intensive training sessions provided by the Co-operative College and Ken was enthusiastic about the training as it brought the dream closer.
European funding allowed the purchase of the shop on Scunthorpe High Street and Ken spent many hours utilising his skills as a retired builder in adapting the former furniture shop to the requirements of the Credit Union: he liaised with builders, building control and the fire service and ensured that the stringent regulatory requirements were met.
In 2002, a small community credit union – St George’s (Scunthorpe) – whose Board had joined the steering group, changed its name to North Lincolnshire Credit Union (NLCU) and extended its common bond to cover the whole county on a live or work basis, allowing it to trade. Ken was in his element trying to attract members and spent many hours and days sitting at the front desk, often alone, waiting for people to come in.
At the inaugural AGM of NLCU, Ken was elected Vice-President and he took his duties very seriously, promoting the credit union vociferously whenever and wherever he could. As NLCU grew, he always took his turn staffing the front desk, served on the credit and marketing committees, interviewed volunteers and sat on the personnel committee interviewing prospective staff.
As Ken’s health declined, his presence at the Credit Union diminished but he still came in on 2 or 3 days a week to assess loans, and was always very particular to check the person’s ability to repay.
Ken was fully behind the merger of NLCU with HEYCU in 2015 and offered many insightful thoughts on the way forward.
Sadly Ken’s health declined further and for the last two years he was unable to play an active part but he was always eager for news of the Credit Union and proud of the part that he had played in its development. 
After a long illness, Ken died on 26 May and HEYCU and we here at the Scunthorpe branch have lost a good friend. He will be greatly missed and our thoughts and condolences go out to his family.”

WE WELCOME MOVES TO CAP HIGH COST CREDIT
As the Humber Region’s largest not-for-profit lender, we welcome the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)’s proposals to cap the cost of borrowing from rent-to-own, doorstep and other high cost sources of credit.  Here was my reaction to the news:
We are totally opposed to lenders exploiting consumers by charging exorbitant rates for the credit that people need in order to afford their lives. Leading vulnerable people into unsustainable debt in order to maximise profits for shareholders is not an acceptable practice in today’s society. Credit Unions have had a legal cap on their interest rates since 1979 but because of our not-for-profit ethos, we have no desire to charge more than it costs to run our organisation. Any surplus we do make is returned to our members as a bonus on their savings.

“Last year we were awarded a 5-star Fairbanking Mark by the Fairbanking Foundation in recognition of the efforts we make to support our members’ financial well-being. And in a recent study*, Credit Union loans were found to have the least serious impact on mental health whereas payday loans and unauthorised overdrafts had the worst.”
Since 1999 we estimate that we’ve saved our members over £13 million in interest charges compared to what they would have paid by taking similar credit from high cost providers.
The FCA has outlined a package of plans for rent-to-own, doorstep lending and catalogue shopping and says rent-to-own shops that sell appliances and furniture for small weekly repayments could face a price cap similar to the limits on payday lenders. It quoted examples where people have paid over £1,500 for essentials like an electric cooker which could be bought on the High Street for less than £300. It believes the harm caused in this market, used by three million people in the UK, is sufficient to justify considering a price cap.
We would like to remind members that our website has a link to the online Co-operative Electrical store which offers an impressive range of domestic appliances, TV, audio, computers, games and beds.  When taken with a Credit Union Loan the weekly payments are many times cheaper than those weekly payment stores referred to by the FCA.  Why not take a look?

* Royal Society for Public Health Report – Life on Debt Row:  https://www.rsph.org.uk/our-work/policy/wellbeing/life-on-debt-row.html



NEW DATA PROTECTION REGULATIONS
Over the last couple of months, you’ve probably been bombarded with messages from organisations that you have signed up with (and probably some that you haven’t) telling you how they plan to comply with the new data protection laws, known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR for short).   So we won’t add to the burden.  But we do want to reassure our members that it’s Credit Union policy to take great care of your personal data, as you’d expect of an ethical member-owned organisation.  
We’ve recently updated our Privacy Policy (view here) and invited members to opt-in so that they continue to hear about our products, services, special offers and so on.  (Please note that, by law, we must send all members notices of our AGM and other membership information whether you opt in or not).  But we try not to overload you with contacts – one email newsletter per month is our usual practice.  And, of course, we never sell or pass on your personal data to other organisations for marketing purposes, because we know that most members wouldn’t be happy with that.   Rest assured, if you wish to opt out of marketing at any time, you only have to let us know and we will remove you from those lists.

VISITS TO DWP WORK SITES
Recently, I spent a day at the DWP Pension Centre at Seaham on the North-East coast, meeting groups of staff.  We’ve provided savings and loans by payroll deduction to over 1,200 DWP colleagues for nearly two years now, but my visits help to make more of them aware of this popular staff benefit and tie in well with the financial element of their Health & Wellbeing at Work initiative.
The day’s agenda included pre-arranged talks to groups of staff, who all seemed very interested in what I had to say.  Across lunch time, we had a stall in the foyer to catch anyone passing by for a quick chat, when I was accompanied by a colleague from the DWP Wellbeing Group, which helped to draw people into conversation.  The feedback from the day was very positive and 20 more members signed up:
“I found the session extremely informative and it gave me food for thought”
“John delivered the session clearly, without jargon, and fully explained what the credit union is about and what they can do for us”
“The fact that if you choose to save with them it comes straight off your pay makes it very easy to use”
“The loans they offer are comparable to a lot of High Street offerings”.
If any other DWP sites would like a visit, please contact info@hullandeycu.co.uk

STREET GAMES CLUB MEMBERS “IN THE MONEY”
We’ve been working with the Loan Sharks Team and a group of Street Games sports groups to give young people an opportunity to deposit money into a Junior Savers account each time they attend a session.   For many youngsters it’s the first time they’ve had an account in their own name and they love watching their savings grow.
At Andrew Marvell Youth Centre on Bilton Grange the organiser, Margaret Montgomery, says the project has proved very popular with both members and parents.
As a group, the issue of Loan Sharks or Illegal Moneylenders is explained to members. Because of all the media attention they do know a little about it, and the effects it has on people’s lives.
“We currently have over 20 regular savers and the response has been fantastic both from members and parents. Parents say it’s great because it’s easy to pay in at sessions. 
“We encourage members to save, not only for the initial 3 or 6 weeks but with a long term goal in mind.  Some for a school skiing trip next year or family occasions and treats.  The £25 Loan Shark bonus is a great incentive to start savings accounts. We have offered additional small incentives along the way if savings kept up.  We found that even though they bring 50p/£1 for their cards, members often put in change or unspent refreshment money as well.”
The £25 bonuses offered by the Illegal Money Lending Team are funded from Proceeds of Crime money confiscated from loan sharks, so it is very satisfying to see it doing some good by going back into the communities where the illegal lenders caused such misery.

NEWS FROM DRIFFIELD
During this Volunteers Week 2018 we’d like to pay tribute to two of our longest serving volunteers, upon their retirement.  Edwin King and Billy Briggs joined our Driffield branch shortly after its opening in 2005, and their enthusiasm, dedication, and regular commitment over the years was undoubtedly a major factor in its growth and development within the town. At a pleasant lunch held in the Original Keys Hotel, I said “thank you” for the considerable contribution volunteers like Edwin and Billy make to the success of our Credit Union.

LOAN SALE 2018 PROVES A BIG SUCCESS
Our Spring Loan Sale has proved more popular than ever before and lots of members have commented on how low our interest rates are compared with similar loans at the High Street banks.   As a result, our loan book is up by over 30% compared with the same period a year ago, and our members are benefiting from some great deals. 
Looking for a loan of £2000 to £7,500?   Apply before 15 June to be sure of 15% off the rate!  Find out more.

Monday, 26 February 2018

JOHN’S BLOG – FEBRUARY 2018


We are only into February but there’s lots going on at HEYCU to tell you about already:


RENEWABLE ENERGY POWERS NEW PARTNERSHIP

We are celebrating our new energy efficient status after installing solar panels, LED lighting and internal insulation as part of a new partnership with Co-op Energy.


Our Brook Street headquarters in Hull city centre now boasts 22 solar panels on the roof, along with new LED office lighting and internal insulation, provided by Co-operative Energy Saving.
Each solar twin peak panel has the capacity to produce up to 265w, meaning the new installation could create nearly 5,000kWh a year, saving up to £800 per annum.
Co-operative Energy Saving aims to help combat climate change by helping individuals, community groups and small businesses to reduce their energy consumption and bills.  This fantastic initiative has made us realise that, even as a relatively small organisation, we can play an important part in tackling climate change. It is an issue that we know our member-owners are very passionate about.
Martin Cook, Affiliates Manager at Co-op Energy, said: “One of our main goals as a co-operative is to help create a more environmentally-friendly and sustainable world, and working closely with like-minded individuals, communities and organisations is an essential part of this.
“Our project with Hull & East Yorkshire Credit Union shows what can be achieved when we work collaboratively to help shape the future of energy generation.”



NOW OUR CHRISTMAS SAVER PRIZE DRAWS ARE MONTHLY!

We’re so thrilled with the big increase in Christmas Saver accounts this year that we’ve decided to have a special Prize Draw once a month to encourage members to keep on saving!
At each month end we’ll draw a winner at random from all who have paid into their Christmas Saver account during that month.  So, remember to make at least one deposit per month and then you’ll qualify to be entered in every draw.   You’ll also be very glad when Christmas comes along and you have lots of money to draw upon, for a stress-free festive season.
Our first prize winner – in January – was Gemma Smirk of Kingswood, who is the proud owner of a new food blender, to get her new year off to a healthy start. 
February’s prize will have a Valentines’ theme –maybe the winner could be YOU?



WELCOME TO NEW MEMBERS AT LEBUS

We were delighted to welcome eight new members at Lebus Upholstery, the furniture makers in Scunthorpe where we have a payroll partnership. Lebus workers can save and borrow with us direct from their pay, thanks to their enlightened management who offer them this fantastic staff benefit. 
Workers who use this service say they don’t miss the money, as it comes out before they get paid and goes into a savings account with us.   It’s a great way of “secret saving” for a special holiday or treat for a family member.   It’s also easy to change the amount – up or down – but many members just keep it the same year after year, building up a nice nest-egg for later in life.
Does your employer offer payroll deduction to our credit union?  If not, why not ask them to?   Employers simply contact us to find out how to operate it – and it’s really easy to administer.  If you can convince your employer to offer this benefit, we’ll reward you with £50.



CENTRE4 LAUNCH NEW SAVINGS CLUB TO HELP RESIDENTS PLAN AHEAD

Grimsby’s MP, Melanie Onn, helped us launch a new partnership for the people of North East Lincolnshire on Friday 23 February.  The Christmas Savings Club has now started at Centre4, the well-used community hub at Wootton Road, Grimsby.
Local residents will be able to pop into Centre4 to deposit small amounts of cash at a convenient time, giving them access to our credit union as a welcome alternative to payday loans, doorstep lenders and even illegal money lenders operating across North East Lincolnshire.
Linda Dellow, Chief Officer at Centre4 said, “We are delighted to offer a Christmas Savings Club from Centre4. We fully understand the financial pressures facing some people and how difficult it can be to budget from week to week, never mind keeping money back for Christmas. A Christmas Savings Club can help people put small amounts of money away on a regular basis and give them access to a savings fund at what is always an expensive time of year”.
For a limited time, a £10 bonus is available to anyone opening an account. The Christmas Savings bonus is provided by the Stop Loan Sharks project as a further incentive for people to develop a savings habit and keep away from high cost, high risk lending.  It is funded using proceeds of crime money; cash that has been seized from loan sharks under money laundering laws.
Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said:
“We’re pleased to be working with Centre4 and Northern Lincolnshire Credit Union to launch this new incentive, which will see loan sharks’ cash being put to good use, to sponsor new Christmas savings accounts.  Loan sharks prey on the most vulnerable members of our communities and extort them out of hard earned cash. If you have fallen victim to an illegal money lender, we urge you to contact us on 0300 555 2222 or www.stoploansharks.uk. We will take information anonymously and in confidence.”



HORNSEA WANTS A CREDIT UNION

I took a call from Councillor John Whittle of Hornsea in East Yorkshire the other day.  His enquiry was an all too familiar one these days, sadly.  The town of Hornsea (population 8.000+) is losing its last High Street bank in May.   After that, residents won’t have a local bank to pop into.   He asked whether the Credit Union could consider providing a service in the town.
Without funding, we would struggle to provide a high street banking presence in a town like Hornsea, but if we some enthusiastic volunteers came forward, maybe we could set up a weekly contact point, similar to those we operate in Driffield, Withernsea, Beverley, Howden and a few other places.   At least local residents would have somewhere to deposit savings and apply for affordable loans with a reputable organisation that cares for the local community – because we are owned by our members and exist solely to serve them, rather than make profits for City shareholders and bonuses for Fat Cat managers who I don’t suppose even know where Hornsea is.
Anyway, I’ve accepted an invitation to speak at Hornsea Town Council meeting on 5 March, so we’ll see what happens after that.  No promises, of course. 



SCHOOL BANK NEWS

Recently my staff colleague Jamie-Leigh issued our Spring-term Pennies 2 Pounds Newsletter to the schools where we have a volunteer run school bank.   She reminded everyone that mums, dads, uncles, aunties, grandparents and younger or older siblings can all save at the school bank, not just pupils.  It’s a popular way to get the whole family into the habit of regular saving so that money is available for Christmas, holidays, school trips, kit and uniform, birthday treats and so on.   Staff at most of our schools can also pay into the Credit Union direct from their salary.
The newsletter offers volunteers some useful tips for spreading the word about a school bank:
·        Ask about mentioning your school bank on the school’s website.  Some do this already but others don’t, probably because no one has suggested it.  It’s a good way to let the parents and wider community know when the school bank runs.  
·        Does the school produce a parents’ Newsletter? If so, perhaps they could include a short article about the school bank.
·        Hand out a flyer with an application form at the school gate (with head teacher’s permission).
·        Ask about sending flyers out with the children’s book bags.
·        Could someone offer to present an assembly in school, talking about the benefits of saving and looking after money, with some fun activities, music and rhymes?

We’re thrilled that Archie of Boothferry Primary School is our first P2P Saver to be awarded a Super Saver Certificate and P2P lunch bag.   He has saved with us regularly since the school bank opened in 2013 and reached an amazing personal savings target.



GOOLE & DISTRICT LOCAL MEMBERS’ GROUP

Our second meeting was held at The Courtyard, Goole on 31 January.  It was well-supported and we welcomed two new members.   The Know Your Credit Union Quiz was great fun and members were amazed to learn that since we were formed in 1999, our Credit Union reckons to have saved the people of Hull and East Yorkshire over £13 million by providing loans cheaper than doorstep lenders.   Jean Taylor and Janet Sowden won prizes for the most correct answers.
We discussed lots of ideas for improving the Pasture Road Credit Union branch, at modest cost.  We already have a play table to keep the little ones amused while parents make their transactions, and there are exciting plans to freshen up the d├ęcor, make better use of the back room and install a new sign.  We’re grateful to members of the Group for their suggestions and offers of help.
Since the meeting Councillor Pat O’Neil came to spend a day in branch with Jo and it was a great pleasure to have her company.  Pat was amazed at the variety of ways in which we try to help the people of Goole to make the best use of their money.   We have recently started to promote our partnership with Co-op Electrical, which lets members obtain domestic appliances much cheaper than certain weekly payment stores.  And they give a choice of delivery times!



VISITS TO DWP OFFICES

I’ve planned some visits to DWP sites over the next two months, to recruit more members, meet our Workplace Champions and say hello to existing members across the wide area we serve.  On 13-14 March I’ll be at Glasgow, Paisley and Motherwell.   April sees visits to Stockton-on-Tees, and possibly Seaham in the North-East, and also some offices in West Yorkshire. 
It was fascinating to learn that we were featured in a question in Parliament, when it was revealed that the three credit unions serving DWP staff (CommSave, Voyager Alliance and HEYCU) had enrolled 3,800 DWP members and provided them with loans of £4 million since July 2016.
A busy few weeks lies ahead, as we will also be launching a new payroll partnership to provide our popular savings and loans service to the staff of North East Lincolnshire Council. 



HULL’S HEADSCARF REVOLUTIONARIES

Did you see the BBC4 documentary about the group of Hull women who, 50 years ago, fought for decent health and safety at sea after 58 men lost their lives in the Triple Trawler Tragedy of 1968?
Deep sea fishing was the city’s most dangerous industry, with frequent loss of life, and many thought that nothing could be done about it.  Not so, “Big Lil” Bilocca and her friends, whose determined and ultimately successful campaign to stop unsafe trawlers from going to sea, in the face of stiff opposition from owners and sometimes the menfolk themselves, earned them the title “Headscarf Revolutionaries”.   It’s another example of the “power of the people” that makes us so proud of our home city. 



CHILD BENEFIT LOAN & SAVINGS PLAN
This is rapidly becoming one of our most popular products, with several hundred families now regularly having their Child Benefit paid into the Credit Union.   It’s a really simple and sensible way of combining saving and borrowing to make the most of your money.   A loan of £500 over a year costs just £12 a week, which means that someone receiving Child Benefit of £21, could save up to £470 a year just by leaving it in to mount up, say for use at Christmas.  Find out more.