Nearly 2 million adults are without bank accounts
The latest findings of the Financial Inclusion Commission are worth a read. According to this organisation, which includes politicians, representatives from the financial services industry and charities, people without bank accounts face extra costs of £1,300 a year and a worse choice of goods and services.
They are also concerned that people aren't saving enough to deal with a sudden financial shock. Apparently fewer than half of British households are saving and 13 million people wouldn't have enough savings to support them for a month if their income was cut by 25%, while the use of high cost borrowing and illegal money lenders has grown.
The Commission's chairman said their vision was "for everyone to enjoy decent financial health in the UK. That means every adult is connected to the banking system, has access to affordable credit, is encouraged to save, has the right insurance at the right price, and access to impartial financial services advice."
Thanks to a landmark deal with the big High Street banks everyone should be able to get at least a basic bank account while we in the Credit Unions are working hard to promote access to our affordable credit (capped by law) and provide a popular range of savings account products.
Hull City Council Tenants Participation event
I spent an enjoyable hour with a group of Hull City Council housing tenants last week, explaining the services we offer and how people can join us. They were very interested and there was a very lively question and answer session at the end. We look forward to welcoming many more Council tenants into membership and helping them to benefit from our “not for profit” services.
New tax allowance
Following the 2015 Budget, the marriage tax allowance is back. Married couples will need to register on line at www.gov.uk/marriage-allowance to receive more information. A calculator is available on this website to calculate how much may be saved in tax paid. Savings are available if one partner earns £10,600 a year or less.
Business start-up loans
Are you planning to start up a new business, or perhaps you already have but are still in your first year or two of trading? We may now be able to offer you a business loan. Hull and East Yorkshire Credit Union is working in partnership with a consortium other credit unions to deliver start-up loans and business mentoring to entrepreneurs on behalf of the Start Up Loans Company. Applicants who would like to be considered need to provide a costed business plan and other vital information that demonstrates their dedication and passion for pursuing a sound business opportunity. Help is at hand in the form of mentors who can work with loan recipients to ensure that their start-up business has the best chance of success. To find out more, ask us for an application pack.
Our 2015 Strategic Planning Event
Once a year our directors hold what we call a Planning Day when we look in more detail at our Credit Union's Business Plan, check if we are moving forward with the plans we made a year ago, discuss some hot industry topics, and then "roll forward" our plans for another year. As a result the Board will soon be approving a fresh 3-year Plan covering the period 2015-18. It's amazing how quickly the years roll by, but this is a very important activity for us because, as they say in business "to fail to plan is to plan to fail", something that we would never want to happen.
This year's Planning Day was held on a Sunday, which says a lot for the dedication of our volunteer directors. We spent the morning looking at all the different risks a business like ours can face, and considering how best to manage them. In the afternoon our Employees' Council joined us and presented their draft Members' Promise, which we hope to introduce this year. More about this soon. And on the way out we all admired the new Investors in People Bronze Award plaque that now graces our Central Office foyer. Do look for it next time you pop in, and be proud!
A Hull Pie anyone?
For our Planning Day lunch we thought we’d sample the famous Hull Pie that everyone’s talking about (when they’re not eating them, that is). What an inspired choice - they were scrumptious!
As we are owned by the people of Hull, East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire, we do like to support other local businesses whenever possible (for example most of our printing is done by firms in this area), so for a tasty treat why not pop down to the “little blue pie hut” outside St Stephen’s shopping centre. Find out more here www.thehullpie.co.uk.
Northern Lincolnshire business development
Now that the dust has settled on our merger, we’re making plans to recruit more members and build more business in Northern Lincolnshire. Forging partnerships with the region’s employers is one way that has proved successful elsewhere. We’ve now had some productive meetings with the very positive people at both North Lincolnshire Council and North Lincolnshire Homes (Ongo) and they are going to help us promote “saving direct from pay” among their workforces.
We’re planning some “roadshows” at their offices in June and July when colleagues will be able to find out more and sign up to this painless saving opportunity. If you work for these organisations, check out our website or social media to see when we’ll be in your area.
And if you are an employer in the region interested in offering a popular staff benefit for minimal time and effort, do get in touch.
Spread the cost - with a low cost Freedom Loan!
Whether you are planning to spruce up your garden ready for the summer, get down to some home decorating, or maybe fancy taking a few days away, your Credit Union offers a great deal on small loans to help you spread the expense. We are many times cheaper than typical doorstep or online credit. Check out our Freedom Loan today!