Tuesday, 2 May 2017

JOHN’S BLOG – APRIL & MAY

There’s still a lot going on at HEYCU as we approach the warmer season, which brings the traditional upswing in our loans business as members get busy with their DIY and finalise their holiday plans...


National Champion Award from IMLT

We were very thrilled to be chosen as a National Winner of an Award from the Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) in recognition of the work we’ve been doing over the past year to raise the community’s awareness of the dangers posed by unauthorised lenders, or “loan sharks”.    Our award was presented by the IMLT mascot “Sid the Shark” at Boothferry Primary School in Goole, where much of the partnership activity has been co-ordinated by Jo Evans, our Development Officer.  Mike Sibley, the very supportive Head Teacher, and I were interviewed by Radio Humberside and the Goole Times were present to record the occasion.   You can read about the work we have done at Goole, and on the Greatfield Estate in Hull, on our website.

Tony Quigley, Head of Service for the England Illegal Money Lending Team said: “Well done to all our winners and ‘highly commended’ runners up in the National Champions Awards 2016. You have all contributed to making a difference and tackling this crime in your community. Loan sharks are a scourge on society and cause harm and misery to their victims. If you or someone you know has been a victim of a loan shark, we urge you to get in touch with IMLT on 0300 555 2222. You call will be handled by a trained officer and all information will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 370 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 318 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £71.9 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 26,500 people.



DWP Payroll Membership

It is a pleasure to see our membership among the DWP staff community steadily growing and many of those members are already increasing their monthly savings and thinking of us when they require a loan.  At the time of writing we are about to sign up our 1,000th DWP staff member, which is a tremendous achievement in just 9 months. 

During April I visited two sites in Scotland where we have lots of members – Falkirk and Dundee – and greatly enjoyed meeting many of them as well as signing up some new ones.  Everyone was so friendly and helpful and it was good to see how keen they were to support our credit union.  As it was a “working break” I found time to take a walk to see the impressive Falkirk Wheel, have a stroll through Callendar Park, and have a look at the waterfront regeneration taking place in the very friendly city of Dundee.   I am sure I will be back before long.



Winterton residents can earn £10 bonuses

We now have a weekly contact point in the North Lincolnshire town of Winterton.  It is open every Wednesday inside Winterton’s Co-op food store from 12 noon and is run by our staff colleague Patrick. 
Just like at our other contact points in places like Driffield and Withernsea, local residents can join our credit union there, make savings deposits into adult and children’s accounts and find out about our responsible loans.
As an opening offer, we are giving £10 bonuses to Winterton area residents who sign up to save with us.   The offer will close when the first 50 bonuses have been awarded.

We are meeting the local Residents Group and members of the Town Council this month to explain how the credit union helps everyone who joins to make the most of their money.



Fairbanking Foundation to survey our members

We are keen to gain some feedback from those of our members who have taken out a CU Loan, to help us to improve your experience in the future.  The Fairbanking Foundation and Ipsos MORI are working with us to conduct a survey over the next few weeks, so if you are contacted to take part, please be assured that it is a genuine approach and we would very much appreciate your voluntary participation.  No personal financial details will be requested from you as part of this survey. 



Our Region in the News

Good to see the City of Hull getting mentioned on the BBC regularly with updates on our City of Culture activities.  The Weeping Window display of poppies at the Maritime Museum has really drawn the crowds following the departure of The Blade, while the play The Hypocrite played to sell-out audiences at Hull Truck Theatre.  The range of events and activities never ceases to amaze and it is fantastic that so many new visitors are being attracted to Hull and the surrounding region.  This weekend the third Tour de Yorkshire Cycle Races departed from Bridlington once again, wending their way through our beautiful East Riding countryside en route to Scarborough, again witnessed by mass crowds all along the way.  Long may the popularity of our region continue!



Grosmont Co-operative Society

It’s always interesting to learn about other co-operatives and so my eye was drawn to an article in the Dalesman magazine marking the 150th anniversary of one of the smallest co-ops – the village shop in Grosmont, which apparently is the oldest consumer co-operative in Britain still in existence.  If you have taken a trip on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway you will have seen or even popped in to their well-stocked shop facing Grosmont station. You may not have realised that it’s a member-owned business just like ours.  Congratulations to them, and here’s to their next 150 years!



General Election

The recent announcement of a General Election on 8th June took many of us by surprise as did the news that Hull West & Hessle’s MP Alan Johnson had decided not to seek re-election.   As well as serving the country with distinction in the last Labour Government, for 20 years Alan was an outstanding and highly respected representative for our city.   The keynote speaker at our launch event in Hull Guildhall in 1999, Alan has been a loyal member and good friend to us here at HEYCU ever since.   We hope the region will continue to benefit from his wisdom and experience and wish him all the best for the future.



Five Steps to Stopping Financial Fraud

We all know that financial crime is on the increase, so it’s good to see the Co-operative Bank issuing some sensible advice to help people guard against the fraudsters who try to trick us out of our money.  The advice is headed “It pays to take time; take five to stop and think”:
1          Never disclose any security details, such as your PIN or banking passwords or share them with anyone.  Banks, credit unions and other trusted organisations will never ask you for these by email, phone, text or letter, so unless you are 100% sure of who you are talking to, don’t disclose.
2          Don’t assume an email or phone call is authentic.  Just because someone knows your basic details, or tries to convince you that you have been a victim of fraud, it doesn’t mean they are genuine.
3          Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision.  No bank or credit union would force you to make a financial transaction on the spot or ask you to transfer money to another account for fraud reasons.  Stop and take time to carefully consider your actions.
4          Listen to your instincts.  If something feels wrong, it is usually right to question it.
5          Stay in control – have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for personal or financial information.
If you think there has been fraud on your card or bank account, contact your bank immediately.



New Flexi Credit service for our payroll members

We have started a new service for those members who pay into the credit union regularly by payroll deduction.  It’s called Flexi Credit and it’s designed to help those members who have a sudden need for extra funds, for example to pay for unexpected car repairs or to fix a boiler.   Payroll members who have worked for their employer for at least 12 months can apply for pre-approved credit limit of up to £2,000 to be held on their account and accessed when they need it most.   Interest is only paid on the funds drawn down, not on the full credit limit.  The repayments – made direct from pay – remain fixed no matter how much is drawn, so you can stay in control of your outgoings.  What’s more, the members can continue to save with us, alongside their loan repayments, which is a very popular way to manage your money.   Full details of Flexi Credit may be found here.



Spring Forward with a CU Loan

At this time of year, there are lots of exciting projects to be cracking on with, whether it’s home or garden improvements, a new set of wheels, holiday plans or perhaps a special family celebration.  Here at HEYCU we hope our members will think of us first when looking for financial support.  We have some very competitive deals to offer members seeking a CU Loan this spring.   Please check out our website for more details.  

Remember, with a CU Loan:

·         No set up charges
·         No hidden costs
·         No early settlement fees
·         Interest is only charged on the reducing balance
·         You don’t have to bank with us to get a competitive CU Loan.