Wednesday, 22 April 2015

The week starting 20 April 2015

Hull College employees sign up
We had a very successful time at Hull College's staff benefits day on Tuesday, with lots of College employees showing interest in joining our Credit Union to save up direct from their pay.   Quite a few signed up on the day, while others have sent in their forms afterwards, perhaps swayed by their enthusiastic colleagues!  
If you work for Hull College and haven't joined yet, there's no time limit, but if you want to benefit from our special opening offer of £10 matched bonus for opening a Christmas Saver account, you'll need to set up your payroll deduction by mid-May.

Investors in People presentation
Our April Board meeting was a momentous occasion, for we were presented with our Investors in People Bronze Standard plaque by Jeff Law, Investors in People Assessor.  Jeff congratulated everyone - staff, volunteers and directors - on their contribution to this magnificent outcome and hoped it would encourage us to "reach for the stars" and go for the Silver or even Gold standard next time.   Our plaque will be displayed in the Central Office foyer where members will be able to see it when they call in, and share in our pride.

You can also see us on the Investors in People website.

Pennies 2 Pounds School Bank news
Our new school bank at Roos CE Primary School has got off to a wonderful start.  Another four savers enrolled on Friday and it was very busy from 8.20 until about 9.30 am, with our two capable new volunteers at full stretch.  Rita, our Schools Co-ordinator tells me, "All the children and staff are very enthusiastic, it is a real pleasure to see them".

There's an excellent article in the April edition of Spire, the magazine of All Saints Church in Hessle, an area where we’re keen to work with the local schools and children's centre to develop savings clubs.  Written by Carmel Seston, our Project Officer for Haltemprice, it explains that a Church of England task group, set up by the Archbishop of Canterbury, has been working hard to support people in accessing ethical financial services and developing their financial capability to avoid getting caught up in spiraling debt.  This initiative, known as TO YOUR CREDIT, was launched in 2014 to create a fairer financial system serving the whole community.  It supports the growth of credit unions and other community organisations in providing a fairer alternative to exploitative finance.  The article then explains what a credit union is and how local people can join, get involved and even volunteer.  If you live in the Hessle area and would like to be a Credit Union Champion, we'd love to hear from you!

Credit Union member from Sheffield reunited with his savings
This week an enquiry came in via our website and read "I have recently found my own and my brother's credit union book from 1998-9 that our mother paid into on our behalf. Is there a way we can redeem these savings now and if so, how?  We are from the Sheffield area."
When I looked up the gentleman's Member Number on our records, it clearly wasn't one of ours, and in any case HEYCU wasn't formed until June 1999.  So, I responded by suggesting he visit the website findyourcreditunion which is a handy way of locating your local credit union wherever you live in Britain.  You simply type in your postcode, town or employer and up pop contact details for all relevant credit unions!   I had a nice email back later to say that the credit union books were from Sheffield Credit Union and he was going to call them to sort it out.

North Lincolnshire Merger takes effect
After many weeks of preparations, we finally received notification from the Financial Conduct Authority that they have registered our merger, or to give it the correct legal name - Transfer of Engagements.
So Monday 20 April is the day when our two credit unions - North Lincolnshire and Hull & East Yorkshire - become one and look forward to a bright future working together to provide fair and friendly financial services for the people of the Humber region.
It was a pleasure to welcome the two NLCU staff - Andrew and Tracey - to our Hull Central office last Thursday and I know the HEYCU staff enjoyed meeting them and swapping experiences.   Our next major task - the branch rebranding - takes place this week and it's going to look fantastic.  Have a look at our website to see what I mean. 
On Friday afternoon, together with David Martin, chairman of NLCU, I attended a meeting at the very impressive Civic Centre in Scunthorpe to explain our development plans to the North Lincolnshire Anti-poverty Working Group.  It was good to meet the group members, who are all working hard to make life better for the area's residents, in both urban and rural communities.  They seemed excited about our merger and keen to support us as we roll out the wider range of products and services that the combined credit union makes possible.

The ride in a lift (or taxi!)
Have you seen those training videos that encourage employees to be ambassadors for the firms they work for?  They go something like, "Imagine you enter a lift and a stranger asks you what your firm does, and you only have 30 seconds to explain it to them while the lift ascends between floors.  What would you say?"

Well, it was like that when David and I went to the meeting at the Civic Centre.  To save time we took a taxi (not our usual mode of travel, I hasten to add; we usually walk or take a train/bus).  The taxi driver saw us coming out of the branch and asked, "So, what's a credit union, then?"  This was David's big moment!  We only had a few minutes, but he was in his element, starting off with "It's a not-for-profit financial services co-operative, owned by its members and working for them", then he reeled off the list of savings, loans and other products we offer, explained how we differ from banks and building societies, and concluded with a message that we are part of a worldwide movement all aiming not to profit out of anyone but to make a real difference to people's lives.  By the time we got to the Civic Centre, the taxi driver was totally won over and declared he would be popping in to join up!  It was amazing - you've obviously done that many times before, David.

Tour de Yorkshire Budget Challenge
I hope our junior savers (including those who save at Pennies 2 Pounds clubs) will have a go and enter our latest competition, especially for them.  It's based on the Tour de Yorkshire cycle races, and there'll be a themed prize for the winning entry.  Please mention it to them or their parents/carers. 

First Saver Accounts
Now is a great time to get the next generation off to a good start with money – why not open a First Saver account for the special children in your life!

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