Monthly Archives: September 2014

What price honesty?

In his latest blog, Shaun looks at the role of honesty, following his relocation to Shropshire.

Honesty boxMoving to a small village in Shropshire recently, I was struck by the number of ‘honesty boxes’ – people charging for flowers, vegetables, eggs etc by leaving an unattended box at the front of their gardens and trusting people to leave the appropriate amount of money in return for what they take. It was a nice reminder that there are places where this still happens.

In turn, this got me thinking about the ‘price’ of honesty, and the role of honesty in society. Economically, for example, a high level of honesty and trust results in lower transactions costs. If you leave your produce at the end of your garden, there are no costs involved in setting up a shop, transporting goods to market or delivering them to customers.

Of course, for low value home grown produce, if people don’t leave any money in the honesty box, the seller isn’t left very badly off; they just didn’t make anything on the fruit and veg they had grown anyway. For higher value items, people are going to be much less likely to leave them out for passers-by to help themselves!

However, honesty and trust are symptoms of a society’s wider attitudes and therefore reflect how communities behave – whether in a village, a town or a country. A community that leaves out honesty boxes is a trusting one and studies show that more trusting societies perform better economically, as well delivering a better quality of life, reduced levels of crime etc for their citizens.

How often have we heard people hark back to the past when you could “leave your door open” without fear of been burgled? It’s a clichéd way of implying that the past was better because it was more trusting and honest.

Perhaps the point is better made when you think that the less trusting and honest a society is, the higher the social and economic costs – whether it is fear of walking down the street, or locking your wares away so that people can’t steal them. These days, I believe that not enough emphasis is put on trust and honesty – from politicians downwards – and society suffers because of it.

However, it was interesting to read recently that Richard Branson is going to allow his private staff to take as much holiday as they like, leaving it to their own integrity to decide how much time to take off and when. Hopefully this demonstrates the growing recognition in business that the more trust you place in people, the greater the rewards for the company and its staff.

The role of honesty and integrity in society is, of course, a matter of much debate and study. In this blog, I just wanted to get it off my chest that I think trust and integrity can bring many benefits and a more honest society is a more pleasant one to live in.

Now, what can I buy next time I go along the village high street?

Credit union saved Londoners £6.5m in interest payments

People who have taken out loans with London Capital Credit Union in the last 12 months have together saved over £6.5 million in interest payments and other charges.

Martin Groombridge

Martin Groombridge, Chief executive of London Capital Credit Union

The figures were revealed by Martin Groombridge, Chief Executive of the credit union, as he encouraged people to see for themselves how much they could save by becoming a credit union member.

In the 12 months to the end of August, London Capital Credit Union issued loans to the value of £5.3 million. According to Martin Groombridge, these loans saved local people a significant amount of money. “We estimate that our members will have saved £6.5 million in interest, charges and fees by switching their borrowing to us from payday lenders and other high interest lenders.”

A loan from a credit union such as London Capital Credit Union will result in lower repayments than from a payday lender or a doorstep loan. Said Martin: “That’s where people taking our loans in London can really benefit. What’s more, our ‘Saver Loans’ are designed to help people get into the savings habit, without racking up high interest charges.”

A typical £1,000 loan from the credit union, paid back over one year, would cost a total of just £67 in interest. This is a tiny fraction of what it would cost to borrow from a payday lender, for instance.

“That extra money stays in the local economy,” says Martin, “which has to be good news for everyone.”

London Capital Credit Union is a not-for-profit co-operative dedicated to promoting saving and dealing with debt. Established in 1962 it now has 11,000 members and £7m of assets and provides secure savings and low cost loans for anyone living, working or studying in Barnet, Camden, City of London, Hackney, Haringey or Islington.

Find out more at

Volunteering does Omkar credit!

When Omkar Omkar HushingHushing came to Britain shortly after getting married, he already had experience working for a mortgage lender in Mumbai. However, he was unable to find a job in the UK until he volunteered at London Capital Credit Union.

“It was very hard for me to get a job when I first moved here, because people didn’t think my experience in India was relevant to the UK market,” says Omkar from Hither Green.

But now, following three months’ volunteering with London Capital Credit Union, Omkar has secured a full time job with Initial Finance in West London. “Before I had the experience at the credit union, it was hard to get an interview let alone a job,” he says.

“During my time volunteering with the credit union I met some fantastic people and I was able to help with loan decisions for their members.”

London Capital Credit Union, based in Archway, is a not-for-profit co-operative dedicated to promoting saving and dealing with debt and provides secure savings and low cost loans for anyone living, working or studying in Barnet, Camden, City of London, Hackney, Haringey or Islington.

As a volunteer at the credit union, Omkar helped out in a number of administrative roles, but he says he was most at home with the loan process.

Credit unions offer relatively small – but affordable – loans to their members. Says Omkar: “Credit unions help people get back onto their feet and I can say that they also offered me a great chance to establish myself in the UK.”

According to Omkar, the credit union’s ethical approach to financial services will stay with him in his future career. “Credit unions really do good; they care about their customers and the way they treat people will influence how I deal with people in the future.”

To find out more about how London Capital Credit Union could help you, please visit

Come for coffee and cake with Laserase Bolton!

Come for coffee and cak227167_194866970560144_2319809_ne with Laserase Bolton and help raise vital funds
for Macmillan Cancer Support!

Laserase Bolton, which is in the grounds of the Royal Bolton Hospital, is holding a Macmillan coffee morning on Saturday 20 September, from 11am to 2pm. As well as coffee, tea and cakes, there will be live music, a cake decorating competition, a raffle, stalls, manicures, facials, face painting and consultation drop-in.

The cake decorating competition is open to all, with prizes including specialist skin care and more. The theme of the competition for adults is “friendship” and for children is “bake my face – decorate a cake to look like your favourite celebrity”. All proceeds will be donated to Macmillan Cancer Support.

To find out more about the coffee morning and to enter the cake decorating competition contact Laserase Bolton by email or phone 01204 570900.

When: Saturday 20 September 2014, 11am – 2pm

Where: Laserase Bolton, Royal Bolton Hospital, Redgate Way, Farnworth BL4 0JL

Radio Taxis Credit Union to merge with London Capital

Members of Radio Taxis (London) Credit Union have unanimously voted to merge their credit union with London Capital Credit Union.

London Capital Credit Union logoThe merger will see the formation of an enlarged organisation with some 11, 000 members and £7m of assets.

Speaking about the decision Gordon Brown of Radio Taxis Credit Union said: “There is a greater need than ever for a more ethical source of financial services. People are still paying too much for borrowing and being discouraged from saving. This merger will make a larger and stronger Credit Union that will better serve many more thousands of people in years to come.”

Martin Groombridge, Chief Executive at London Capital Credit Union welcomed the vote. “We are very pleased to be welcoming the members of Radio Taxis Credit Union to London Capital and we are already looking forward to offering their members the full range of our products including our full online service.”

Radio Taxis Credit Union was set up to help London taxi drivers and their families get access to affordable credit and secure savings. Says Martin: “As a member-owned financial co-operative we offer all our members affordable credit and advice to help reduce debts and we welcome the opportunity to offer this to our new members.”

Martin added: “Credit unions across the UK are dedicated to serving the needs of their members and we are proud to be offering an alternative to the High Street banks and rip off rates charged by payday lenders and many other finance providers across London.”

Find out more at