Thursday, 29 June 2017

John’s Blog – June & July

The month of June has perhaps been one of the busiest in our Credit Union’s history, so there’s lots to tell you about…

Now we are 18!

Your Credit Union was registered with the then Registrar of Friendly Societies on 10th June 1999, so this month we attained our 18th anniversary.  This significant milestone was marked by the cutting of a special birthday cake at our Central Office in Hull by our President, Alan Hignett and our guest from the Pen Fed Credit Union, Georgia, USA, Sherry Saxon.
HEYCU began life as the credit union for Hull City Council staff and their families and our first office was a back room down a corridor in the city’s magnificent Guildhall.  We were only open on Wednesday lunch times at first and run entirely by volunteers.  Despite this, with the enthusiastic support of the Council workforce, we grew rapidly, beating our three year plan targets in the first year! 
The first ever loans we granted were to help members to buy shares in the city’s own telecommunications business, KCom, which had just floated on the stock market!   Now, we make loans for less unusual purposes, such as holidays, Christmas, home improvements, cars and family celebrations, and more besides.

It’s remarkable to think that we have since expanded to become one of Britain’s top 15 credit unions, with over 40 payroll partners (including the DWP, one of the largest government departments) as well as serving over 10,000 members who live and work in the Humber Region. 

As someone who was there at the start, seeing our CU “come of age” is a great personal thrill.  I’d like to pay tribute to all who have shared the journey, including Eddie (our Finance Manager) and John Bailey (Director) whose involvement, like mine, has spanned the whole 18 year period.

If you want to learn more about our fascinating history, there’s a timeline on our website

Our new website

Have you seen our new website?  Early in June, with the help of Cornerstone Mutual Services, we switched over to our fresh look site. Our loan and savings products are displayed much more clearly and the improved loan calculator (with an easy to use slider bar) is proving a big hit with members eager to work out the repayments on a CU Loan.

It’s so easy to navigate – on your smartphone, tablet, laptop or desk computer – whether you are looking to join online, download forms or documents, or access one of our partner sites such as Co-op Energy or the Co-op Electrical Store. 

Why not take a browse today, and then give us some feedback?   We are always keen to hear what our members think.

Fairbanking Mark awarded

I am thrilled to announce that we’ve been awarded a 5-star Fairbanking Mark for our Credit Union Loan products.

The prestigious mark, awarded by the Fairbanking Foundation, recognises that our CU Loan has the required features to make a positive impact on consumers’ financial well-being.  If you have had a CU Loan, you’ll be familiar with these admired features, which include:

·         providing loan applicants with a budget planner to help them work our whether they can afford to repay a loan;
·         allowing borrowers to settle early without a fee or penalty charge; and
·         encouraging our members to save alongside their loan repayments, which supports a savings habit, and gives an incentive to continue savings when the loan is completed.

Very few banking organisations have achieved a Fairbanking Mark so far, and even fewer one with 5-stars.  Before a mark is awarded, the bank or credit union undergoes a rigorous independent survey when members or customers are asked for their views on the product and their experience of using it.   We’d like to thank all our members who took part in the survey and helped us to gain our award.

Antony Elliott, the CEO of the Fairbanking Foundation said “We’ve now worked with eleven credit unions to enable their personal loans to be granted the Fairbanking Mark.  The evidence shows that credit unions are playing an increasingly important role in people’s financial lives in the UK.”

Visit by Georgia League of Credit Unions

The UK credit union movement and the Credit Union League of Georgia, USA have formed a partnership to work together for mutual benefit over a ten year period.  Credit unions are huge in the USA and have been around for much longer than in the UK, so we have much to learn from their experiences.

So, it was truly a pleasure to welcome Mrs Sherry Saxon, the Regional Director of PenFed Credit Union in Augusta, and her husband Sidney, to Hull & East Yorkshire Credit Union from 12 to 16 June.  Sherry worked with me, and our directors, to look at how we can further develop our loans business, and revamp our head office to provide an even better experience for our members. She attended a Board meeting, to explain how her credit union had grown from a micro-business to the multi-million dollar organisation that it is today, and how we might follow in their path, while staying true to our co-operative not-for-profit ethos. And she visited all our branches and met the directors and staff socially, which was a most enjoyable experience. 

During their time in Hull, Sherry and Sidney visited Hull’s Guildhall and were treated to afternoon tea with the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress.  They were so impressed with this wonderful historic building.  We should also like to thank the Leader of the Council, Steven Brady, for spending time with them to talk about Hull’s development strategy.  It was a memorable visit and we hope to see them again at some point.

Howden contact point opens

Wednesday 21st June was a special day for us as we opened a new Credit Union contact point to serve the town of Howden.  Thanks to the kind support of the Co-operative Group, we will have a table inside the large Co-op supermarket in Charles Briggs Avenue every Wednesday from 12 noon to 2 pm.

At the contact point residents can join our credit union, pay in savings deposits, apply for loans and ask about our services.  Howden is one of the rural communities that has sadly lost its main bank, so we are pleased to offer an alternative savings and loans facility without residents needing to travel to Goole.

Our opening day was also special because we introduced Penny Penguin, our new penny-wise mascot.  Penny was very popular with the youngsters as she toured the town, handing out balloons and posing for “selfies”. 

While Penny was busy at the Co-op I popped our leaflets through doors to announce our arrival in town, and enjoyed meeting the people of this lovely historic town.

CU staff take part in Hull 10k

Congratulations to my staff colleagues, Sandra, Sarah (and her husband Paul), Matthew, Steve and Kathryn on completing the Hull 10k Run recently.  Proudly displaying the HEYCU logo on their running tops, they did amazingly well especially on the hottest day of the year!

New Lottery sponsors

We are delighted to welcome the Hull Branch of UNISON, the public service union, as our main Members’ Lottery sponsors.  UNISON have provided funding for three extra lottery prizes each month, so we hope even more members will sign up for lottery tickets (£1 each, deducted monthly from your CU Savings).  There’s at least £550 in prizes to be won each month, plus a bumper triple draw at Christmas, so don’t miss out – apply today

Hull’s wonderful news

Our home city has been gaining lots of deserved applause for embracing its City of Culture status so well.   So it was wonderful to learn that £27.5 million funding – including a £15 million National Heritage Lottery grant – had been secured for a major tourism investment in Yorkshire’s Maritime City.

The seven-year project will see the Arctic Corsair – Hull’s last remaining trawler – move to a new berth in a dry dock on the River Hull, alongside a visitor centre; a facelift for the Maritime Museum in Queen Victoria Square, including public access to a rooftop dome; a new home for some of the city’s historic maritime treasures opposite; and a refit for the Spurn Lightship.
It’s great news that 74 jobs, 10 apprenticeships and hundreds of volunteer roles will be created, with the 300,000 extra visitors to the city in the first year boosting the city’s economy by over £1.4 million. 

Well done to all who helped to make this happen – it’s fantastic that the City Plan ambition of creating a world-class destination on our doorstep is being realised.

Summer Events in our Region

Well, it’s summer at last, so let’s take a trip around our Credit Union region and find some ideas for outdoor events that you might like to attend:

Sat 1st - Sun 2nd July
Winterton Agricultural Show
Sun 2nd  July
Howden Show
Tue 11th July 2 - 3.30pm 
Oldfleet Primary School, Greatfield Celebration
Thu 13th July 2 - 3.30pm
Stockwell Primary School, Greatfield Celebration
Sat 15th July – 11 am - 3pm
Greatfield 60 Street Party: Meet at St Hilda's at 11am for the parade to St Stephen’s where the 'street party' will be held.
Sat 15th – Sun 16th July
Open Gardens at Winterton
Wed 19th July
Driffield Show
Sat 22nd July 1 – 4 pm
Viking Barton Family Fun Day
Sat 22nd – Sun 23rd July
Withernsea Carnival, Steam Rally and Parade
Tue 1st August
Yorkshire Day at Sewerby Park, Bridlington – a celebration of all things Yorkshire
Wed 2nd August 11 am to 3.30 pm
Ongo Carnival Scunthorpe
Fri 18th to Sun 20th August
Old Goole Gala

Summer Loans

Would some extra funds come in handy for holiday spending money, holiday clothes or equipment?   Don’t forget we have five-star CU Loans available at competitive rates to suit all pockets.  Check out our website today!