An out and about week!
The work of a Chief Executive is by no means all done behind a desk these days, nor is it "wall to wall" meetings (though it can seem like it sometimes!). To carry out the role successfully you have to get out and about, meeting colleagues and members of the community and finding out what makes our organisation, and the large region we serve, tick.
It's certainly been one of those weeks for me, but I must say I've enjoyed every minute of it.
On Monday I was in Hessle, with Carmel (our School Project Officer for Haltemprice), meeting Councillor Paul Hogan, a local elected member, to look at opportunities for opening school banks and making our credit union more accessible to this quite large suburban community (the town where I grew up in fact). Councillor Hogan was also interested in whether HEYCU could provide banking services for the local businesses. When our new IT/Banking platform is in place this may be possible, including business loans.
Afterwards we popped into the Council's combined library and customer service centre (the Hessle Centre) and were pleased to find the staff well briefed about the Credit Union and keen to help local residents pay into their Credit Union accounts using the cash deposit facility.
On Tuesday morning it was over to Goole but unfortunately the railway line was blocked just south of the town so it was necessary to take a two and a half hour detour via Doncaster. A good job I had lots of paperwork to catch up with while sitting on the train! Apologies to any members who went along to our branch that morning only to find it shut. Only the previous week there were problems with the river bridge, and it's amazing how incidents like that can cause a major snarl up in a town.
By contrast Wednesday morning found me heading east on a bus to Withernsea. It was a lovely journey across rural Holderness, bathed in spring sunshine. After greeting our volunteers, Mareth and Malcolm at the Credit Union Contact Point, Julie (our School Project Officer for Holderness) and I took part in a photo-call arranged by East Riding of Yorkshire Council with Councillor Jackie Cracknell, the Portfolio Holder for Community Involvement, to celebrate the extension of our Pennies2Pounds school banks. Jayne Nendick, the ever-so-busy CEO of The Shores, who has "opened a few doors for us", was also able to join in. We really appreciate the County helping to fund P2P, and I am sure that future generations who get the chance to save up from early childhood to gain financial resilience, will be glad too – one day!
One of our members came up to me and said how much he liked his Credit Union account, and couldn't praise the service enough. In these times when the big banks seem to make it difficult for their customers to contact them, with automated overseas call centres and reduced branch networks, he said it was so nice to pick up the phone and speak to a "human voice" who genuinely wanted to help. That's part of the credit union difference, you see, our members are what we are all about. It was kind of him to tell me and I know our staff really appreciate the feedback.
Welcome to our new Bishop
This week it was announced that Rev Canon Alison White has been appointed the new Bishop of Hull. Although Bishop Alison is only the second woman to be made a Church of England Bishop she won’t want to be judged on that, but on her contribution to the life of our City and County. We congratulate her and look forward to meeting her.
We got to know the previous Bishop, Richard Frith, quite well for he made a point of joining our Credit Union on International Credit Union Day 2013, just after being delegated to the Archbishop of Canterbury's Task Group on Responsible Credit and Savings (see the wenbsite ToyourCredit for more details). So, a warm welcome to Bishop Alison, and the membership form is in the post!
Jam Jar Account planning
Thursday afternoon I was back at base chairing a planning meeting for the Jam Jar Account that we are launching in partnership with Hull City Council. This product will be welcomed by people who’d like some help to budget, especially with Universal Credit on the way.
Our junior savers will be wondering who’s going to win the magnificant Chocolate Easter Egg that is rather tantalisingly on display just outside my office. All will be revealed next week (if it’s still there, that is!).
At the end of March our 2015 Christmas Saver Campaign comes to an end – so get a move on if you haven’t opened an account yet to claim your £10 bonus!
Hull Business Improvement District Awards 2015
Only a few days left to nominate city centre businesses for this year’s Hull BID awards – I am thrilled to find that we’ve had some nominations! Thank you, kind members.
Our Dream Loan makes dreams come true!
Anyone need a loan for a spring garden ‘make over’? Now is the time to apply. Have a look at our Dream Loan - it's like a bank loan but at a lower interest rate.