Wednesday, 19 September 2018

JOHN’S BLOG – SEPTEMBER 2018


A lot has been going on here at HEYCU over the summer, so let’s have a catch up with our news:

Lanarkshire Credit Union Visit

We were delighted when Myra and Carolann of Lanarkshire Credit Union paid us a visit, and showed us the wonderful Savvy Savers game that they have developed to get children of all ages interested in good habits with money.  Jo Evans, our Goole Development Officer, is very excited about testing out the game with our Pennies 2 Pounds schools this autumn and has promised to give feedback to our friends in Lanarkshire.  Who said money management has to be dull?

Goole & District Members’ Group
On 20 July the Group arranged a Cupcake Day in the local branch to raise funds for HEYCU’s Charity of the Year, Aim Higher.  It created a lot of interest in the local community and raised over £100 from the sale of cupcakes and draw tickets.  A special “thank you” to our amazing credit union members and their friends who kindly baked cakes and buns to support the venture!

 
The Group’s next meeting on Wednesday 26 September from 6 pm returns to the Lowther Hotel in Aire Street for a fun evening including a chance to play Savvy Savers, a prize draw and an update on the branch improvements project.  All HEYCU members in the Goole & Howdenshire area are most welcome to come along.


Northern Lincolnshire Members to benefit from data merger
On 27 July we closed all branches earlier than usual to complete a data upgrade, which merged the Northern Lincolnshire and Hull & East Yorkshire parts of the organisation on to a common platform. NLCU members now have 24,000 added to their Member Number (so for example, NL member 1,080 becomes 25,080 in the enlarged credit union).   This means they can register on the HEYCU website to view their overnight balance and recent transactions, and they can use any HEYCU branch to make deposits and withdrawals with ease.  

Ongo Carnival
Once again our Credit Union had a stand at the Ongo Carnival which took place in brilliant weather in August.  Tracey and Sarah from our High Street, Scunthorpe branch were there to meet the crowds and explain how our safe savings and affordable loans help everyone make the most of their money.  It was a day out to remember.

Credit Unions now serve nearly 2 million people
The latest data published by the Bank of England, for the financial year 2017, illustrates the rapid of growth of the British credit union movement in the last decade. Since 2008, membership has increased from just over 650,000 members to just under 2 million, and they now have assets worth over £3.1 billion.
Credit unions in England now serve over 800,000 members, with £730 million in savings and over £500 million out on loan. Scotland’s credit unions serve almost 400,000 members, or 7.4% of the population. Credit unions particularly thrive in Glasgow where 25% of residents are members of their local credit union. Scottish members now have £520 million in savings and total assets of over £600 million.   Welsh credit unions are serving almost 80,000 people, who have £40 million in savings and are currently borrowing £22 million.
Meanwhile, figures published by the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) echo this growth on the global stage. In 2006 46,000 credit unions served 172 million people worldwide across 97 countries. However, the most recent WOCCU statistics show that by 2006 68,000 credit unions were serving over 235 million people in 109 countries. 
Clearly, credit unions are becoming more popular than ever. With nearly 2 million members in the UK it shows that more and more people from all walks of life trust credit unions as a place to save, as well as a great option for loans and other financial services.

“By the seaside, beside the sea…”
We have been working on exciting plans to expand HEYCU’s presence in Withernsea, with support from the Withernsea Big Local Steering Group.  Once approval is obtained from Big Local headquarters, they will be making a social investment in our credit union as part of their aim to improve the financial well-being of Withernsea residents over the next three years. 

I was pleased to be invited to speak at Withernsea Big Local’s annual public meeting in the Shores on 13 September when I outlined our vision for Withernsea to become a Credit Union Town, where local people can easily access responsible not-for-profit savings and loans, making it a “no go area” for “rip-off credit” such as doorstep lenders, payday lenders, weekly payment stores and loan sharks.  We’ll have a local development worker to build up business, support our volunteers and work with the community; wider opening hours and new school banks.  Those present were very supportive of the idea, and we can’t wait to get started!

Meanwhile, up the road at Hornsea, a group of residents and the Town Council asked us to consider opening there, after the town lost its last High Street bank.  We ran a consultation in Hornsea Community News over the summer to find out more about their needs, and it appears there would be some support for a weekly volunteer-run branch there.  Watch this space!

Goodbye Wonga
The end of the “payday lender” Wonga in August didn’t come as a total surprise, after it collapsed under the weight of complaints and compensation payouts relating to its activities before the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) clamped down in 2014 with an interest rate cap and other expectations about affordability assessments. 
Responding to the news, ABCUL Head of Policy & Communications, Matt Bland, said: “Few will shed a tear over the demise of Wonga, whose high-profile marketing and sports sponsorship at their peak made them by far the best-known payday lending brand.  But the closure of Wonga should not be confused with the end of high-cost lending.   While the FCA’s consumer credit regime produced some improvements in practices, lenders continue to grow and lend to people who find difficulty accessing mainstream credit.”
Personally, I have never warmed to the idea of so-called payday lending.  I believe it to be just a slick marketing term, invented by Wonga and others, to make a disreputable practice sound respectable.   What sounds like a great idea – just borrowing until next payday – was all too often a hook to lure people into a spiral of uncontrollable debt.  If you can’t manage until this pay day, what chance have you next time when, on top of all your usual bills, you’ve a high-cost payday loan to settle?  Hence the frequent need to roll-the debt over, and before you know it you’re saddled with a near permanent debt at 1000%+ APR.
Far better the credit union alternative, which has people’s financial well-being, not the lender’s profit at its heart.  We lend the smaller sums that banks won’t consider, but at reasonable rates of interest, and over sensible periods.  We also encourage people to save, which is the only long-term route out of a cycle of debt. 

Lord Mayor of Hull’s Centenary Plaque

We’re very honoured to have one of the Lord Mayor’s Centenary Plaques on our Hull Central branch building.  It commemorates Lord James Peddie, who was a leading figure in the co-operative movement from the 1930s to the 1960s.  As we are a co-operative, the Lord Mayor thought we would be a fitting location for his plaque.

The Lord Mayor’s Centenary Plaques were established to mark the 100 year anniversary of the creation of the role of Lord Mayor in Hull.  They recognise one hundred pioneers from our city that have achieved great distinction in their various fields, from scientists to explorers, ground breakers and campaigners who have made a difference on a local, national and international level but have their roots in Hull.    You can download an app, available FREE from Apple Store and Google Play and use it to find plaque locations and discover more about the Hull 100.

FitBit Prize Draw – hurry to get in the Prize Draw!
If you work for one of our payroll partners, there’s just a couple of weeks left to get yourself included in the Prize Draw to win a FitBit Alta Activity and Sleep Wristband (worth £99).  All you have to do is:
·        if you’re not a member already, join our Credit Union, and set up a payroll deduction for regular saving; or
·        if you are, refer a work colleague to do so.  We’ll pop you (and them) in the draw for each new member who joins on your referral.
But don’t delay, the offer closes at the end of September.

It’s that time again!

We are sorry to mention it but Christmas is on its way.  If you need some extra support to cope with the pressure on your purse or wallet that the festive season usually brings, look no further than your own Credit Union.  A Credit Union Christmas Loan is far cheaper than other small loan options including doorstep credit:


Lender
Loan £ over 52 weeks
Repayments per week £
Interest %APR
Total to repay £
Morses Club*
£400
£14.00
272.2%
£728.00
Provident*
£400
£14.40
299.3%
£748.80
Credit Union*
£400
£9.20
42.6%
£477.54
*information taken from websites, correct as at 17.9.18

Remember, we have a 5-star Fairbanking Mark for our Credit Union Loans, and you can save with us alongside your loan repayment, helping you to build up a handy sum for the future.   We also have a Child Benefit Loan & Savings Plan option, which is an ideal way for families to stretch their money further.

To find out more, click here or call our friendly team on 01482 778753 (M-F).