Wednesday, 15 May 2019

JOHN’S BLOG – MAY 2019

As ever, there’s a lot happening at HEY Credit Union, so it’s time to give our members and supporters an update on our progress!
Members, Savings and Loans all growing steadily    
We’re now past the half way stage of our financial year and it is good to see that we’re building on the excellent progress of 2018.  Membership (including Junior Savers) is up by 9% to almost 15,000, making us Britain’s 8thlargest ABCUL credit union.  Savings are up by 5% year on year while our total loans are up by an amazing 32%.

Our Spring Loan Sale, with rates reduced by 15% on loans from £2,000 to £7,500, is attracting lots of attention.  If you have a project where it makes sense to spread the cost, do ask us for a quotation – we can and often do beat the rates available from High Street banks.
HEYCU Mobile App

Our new Mobile App is proving very popular and within the first month of its launch we’ve seen over 500 members register to use it, with more every week.  It’s another handy way that our members can check their credit union accounts, move funds (minimum £10), find a branch or get in touch.  Here is a link if you’d like to register for our Mobile App:

We are now making withdrawals and loan payments via Faster Payments, so the funds will usually be in your bank account the same day or early next day (except at weekends).   We’ve had some great feedback from members who’ve noticed the speedier service.
HEY – it’s your credit union!  

After consulting members via the recent Member Survey, we learnt that over 80% of you are happy with our proposed new trading name – HEY Credit Union.  The Board has agreed to roll it out this year.  Our registered name will still be Hull & East Yorkshire Credit Union, but as we now have hundreds of members living or working outside our traditional county boundaries, it makes sense to adopt a shorter nametag that is just as relevant to them as to our original founders.  
Our 20thAnniversary    
Next month we reach an important milestone – it will be 20 years since a group of colleagues at Hull City Council came together as volunteers to found what is now HEY Credit Union!   We’re planning some special activities and events between the anniversary date – 10thJune – and our AGM in December, including prize draws and a celebration event in September.  Keep your eyes peeled for news! 

Out and about     
I’ve been to a number of events recently to “fly the flag” for credit unions and make sure that our voice is heard.  On 7 May I was invited by the Co-operative Partyto a Roundtable Event at the Houses of Parliament, along with other credit union leaders from around Britain.  Jonathan Reynolds MP, Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury, hosted the meeting which discussed the challenges and opportunities facing our movement and the support we would like to see from future governments to help it to grow and thrive as it has in the USA, Canada, Australia and Ireland. In the USA credit unions have been allowed to provide a wider range of consumer products such as credit cards and car loans for their members, which UK law doesn’t currently permit us to offer, and it is widely felt this is holding back UK credit unions from reaching their full potential as champions of responsible saving and borrowing.

Our President and I also attended the ABCUL Larger Credit Union Groupin Sheffield, which was hosted very well by a top credit union – Transave UK.  The sessions there were on a similar theme – how can we all work co-operatively to make sure we are delivering services relevant to the modern world and giving our members best value for money?   We also met with the Money and Pensions Service, to update them on the work credit unions are doing to support financial wellbeing in the workplace.
Mental Health Awareness Week

As I write these notes there is a big focus on mental health.  People’s mental wellbeing is majorly affected by worries about money. It is said that 1 in 4 workers regularly lose sleep over money worries; perhaps not surprising when the Money Advice Service says more than half the adult population in regions such as Yorkshire & Humber and the North East have no more than £100 tucked away to stave off a financial crisis.  Credit unions like ours have shown we can help people to build up some useful savings through painless payroll deduction schemes at work.  We can turn borrowers into savers and help them achieve the financial resilience that makes those money worries go away.   If you’d like to save and borrow with us direct from your pay, why not ask your employer to contact us about starting a payroll partnership?  It costs nothing to operate but the benefits to employers and employees alike can be huge.

Withernsea – to be a Credit Union Town   
We’re thrilled that Withernsea Big Localhas entered into a three year partnership with us to expand our branch at The Shores, with extended opening times, better facilities and much more involvement with the local community.  We’ve appointed Matt Lloyd as our local Credit Union Champion and he is already busy making links with all kinds of organisations to make them aware of what we do. Our aim is to make Withernsea a Credit Union Town – one that says NO to high cost credit, NO to doorstep and payday lenders and loan sharks, but YES to affordable responsible credit, and YES to safe savings and common sense money.

We are keen to recruit some additional volunteers to help us.  Then we’ll be able to open longer, perhaps run a school savings bank and support more members.  Would you like to learn new skills, meet people and help the people of Withernsea?  If so, call Matt on 01964 615190 or email mlloyd@hullandeycu.co.uk– we’d love to hear from you.
Sunny summer activities in our Region
With summer on the way, it’s time to think about some activities to entertain the whole family, without breaking the bank. Some great things to look out for on your doorstep:
·      Visit The Deepin Hull – Yorkshire’s #1 aquarium, home to over 3,000 aquatic creatures
·      Hit the beach at Hornsea, and take in the sights and sounds of the beautiful coastal town
·      Climb the heights of Withernsea Lighthouse Museum. Standing at over 127m tall, it remains one of only a handful of lighthouses built inland, and is open to visitors
·      Get up close and personal with the world’s wildlife, at Bridlington Birds of Prey & Animal Park
·      Step into the past, at Grimsby’s Time Trap Museum, for an insight into what life was like before mobile phones and the internet!

Our Charity of the Year 
Don’t forget we are raising money this year for Yorkshire Air Ambulance.  We’ll be telling you next time about some new fundraising events for our members, staff and volunteers to get involved with.


Best wishes and thank you all for your support …

Thursday, 28 March 2019

HEY CU – Giving our members a chance to have their say


Wikipedia defines a credit union as ‘a member-owned financial co-operative, controlled by its members and operated on the principle of people helping people’, and there are no places where this is truer than at HEY CU. It’s little wonder, therefore, that we look to involve our member-owners as much as possible in the running of their organisation. And it’s for this reason that we decided to invite all members to take part in our latest satisfaction survey.

Having direct input from our members is absolutely essential to find out what we do well, and where we can improve. We’re always looking for new ways to enhance our service to them, and the best way of doing that is to have open and honest two-way communication. I’m firmly of the belief that this is what sets credit unions apart from the high-street banks and corporate lenders, and is something that needs to be celebrated. At the recent ABCUL AGM in Manchester, this was one of the prominent themes from the many interactive and educational sessions and workshops.


At the end of the day, as credit unions - we’re owned by our community – so we need to have a dialogue with our community. Below are a few results from our recent survey.



If we look back at the definition at the beginning of this blog – in particular the idea that credit unions are founded on the belief of ‘people helping people’, then this stat is firmly in line with that belief. We strive to improve the financial wellbeing of our members, and one of the ways we do this is by offering access to affordable loans. Those of us who work in the credit union movement know that too many people are excluded from fair financial credit options. Hopefully, as one of the organisations proudly holding a 5 star Fairbanking Mark for Loans, we can make continue to make a difference and offer our members the best possible value.



This one in particular makes me very proud. One of our goals as a credit union is to offer a genuine alternative to the high-cost lenders out there. The fact that our members regard us as responsible suggests we are doing our job, first and foremost. Hopefully, it means that members are happy to recommend us to friends, family and work colleagues and together, we can improve the financial wellbeing of even more people throughout the region we serve – Hull, East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire and various employers further afield.


Another key theme from the ABCUL AGM 2019 was the need for credit unions to be as technologically relevant as possible, to be just as accessible to people as the less scrupulous lenders out there are. It’s a sad fact that many of the so-called payday lenders make it seem easy to apply for a loan – with some able to release funds on the very same day. Unfortunately, this ease of access can often distract people from the harsh reality of the exorbitant interest rates they charge.

It’s good to know that the vast majority of our members feel that HEY CU loans are processed quickly and conveniently for them.  Even so, it’s an area where we are striving to do even better, so that our competitive advantage over other types of lender becomes  even more apparent over time.

While the vast majority of responses to our survey were positive – there are clearly some areas where we know further development is needed. Members often mentioned the need to streamline our online access and the process of applying for loans – and rest assured, those are areas that we have plans to work on over the coming months.

Speaking of coming months, we have quite a significant milestone to celebrate this June. HEY CU will be turning 20, and we asked our members for ideas to mark the occasion. We’ll be meeting with a number of partner organisations and members of the local community to ensure June 10th will be a date to remember for years to come. Watch out for our news of how members can get involved in these celebrations in due course – we wouldn’t be where we are today without you.

Until next time!
John