Tag Archives: Credit unions

Local banking still very much alive in Scotland

ABCUL Scotland dev stage03Following the sad news that Airdrie Savings Bank is to close, the Association of British Credit Unions Limited (ABCUL) has pointed to Scotland’s thriving credit union sector as evidence that local banking is still very much alive and well.

ABCUL Chief Executive Mark Lyonette said: “Across Scotland, almost 100 credit unions are providing savings accounts and affordable loans to more than 387,000 people. Last year, the sector’s deposits, lending and assets all grew by 8%, and Scotland has the fourth highest level of credit union membership in Europe.

“Of course, credit unions must keep pace with what consumers expect from their financial service providers, which increasingly means instant access and control of our money via mobile devices.

“For smaller players like credit unions, the infrastructure to deliver this is often out of reach unless we act together to achieve the required scale. That’s why a number of credit unions in Scotland and across Britain are working co-operatively to develop and deliver the products, services and access channels that modern consumers expect.

“This way, credit unions can ensure a competitive, sustainable local banking option is always open to Scottish consumers as part of a healthy, diverse financial services sector.”

The latest figures from the Bank of England (as at 30 June 2016) show there are 99 credit unions in Scotland serving more than 387,000 people, including 56,000 junior savers. Credit union members have savings worth £484 million and are borrowing £296 million, often at lower interest rates than are available for the same loan from other lenders. The Scottish credit union sector’s assets are worth £562 million.

With 7.2% of the Scottish population using a credit union, Scotland has the fourth highest level of credit union membership in Europe, after only the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Poland.

International recognition for Islington Council and London Capital Credit Union

Islington Council and London Capital Credit Union recognised

Islington Council’s work in support of its local credit union is to gain international recognition as it hosts a group of senior managers from Singapore this week.

Richard Watts from Islington Borough CouncilThe group from the Singapore National Co-operative Federation will be greeted by the Leader of Islington Council, Councillor Richard Watts, at Islington Town Hall, before visiting the offices of the credit union in Archway.

The delegation will meet with representatives from Islington Council and London Capital Credit Union at the Town Hall and will hear how the council has supported London Capital Credit Union to become the success it now is and how this benefits residents across the borough.

The group will then visit the credit union to speak directly with members and staff about the credit union’s mission and the way it encourages saving and responsible lending to residents in Islington and beyond.

Cllr Watts said: “These are difficult times for hard pressed families in Islington and beyond, as many people deal with the rising cost of living.

“Multiple loans from payday lenders are a pathway to deeper poverty, and the council has taken action to support residents to avoid getting into problem debt.

“Part of this work has been to support London Capital Credit Union, as an accessible and affordable way for people to deal with their finances.

“I am very pleased to be supporting this organisation and the excellent work it does in Islington, and I look forward to meeting our colleagues from Singapore.”

Islington Council supports The London Capital Credit Union Ltd with a one-off grant of £250,000 and annual revenue support funding of £25,000.

Martin Groombridge, Chief Executive of London Capital Credit Union, said: “Credit unions are an ethical alternative to banks and other high street lenders and their way of working is designed to benefit all members.

“We are always pleased to be able to share our knowledge with others around the world and we look forward to meeting the delegation from Singapore and welcoming them to London, and to Islington in particular.”

Credit unions in Britain have been growing consistently over the past few years as they become better known and they now have almost 1.3 million members across the country.

Added Martin Groombridge: “Over the last ten years, London Capital Credit Union has seen a huge 1,400% increase in members’ savings from £436,000 to over £6 million. And as a co-operative, we are proud that London Capital Credit Union is owned and controlled by its members – not outside shareholders.”

Find out more at www.credit-union.coop.

Credit unions know how to help to save


ABCUL Scotland logoFollowing the Prime Minister’s announcement of the Government’s “Help to Save” policy, Chief Executive of the Association of British Credit Unions Mark Lyonette said:

“Credit unions are all about promoting financial wellbeing and good money habits, so we welcome the Government’s new Help to Save scheme.

“Credit unions have years of experience helping people to save and make the most of their money – whether by working with employers to let staff save direct from payroll, letting people tuck away savings alongside their loan repayments, or helping people plan and afford expenses like Christmas, weddings and holidays – so many credit unions will be keen to provide the new Help to Save accounts.”

Scottish Government backs call for workplace savings

ABCUL Scotland logo ABCUL – the Association of British Credit Unions Limited – has welcomed the Scottish Government’s backing in its campaign to make access to credit union savings and loans a standard workplace benefit.

A new report – “Scotland’s Credit Unions: Investing in our Future” – published on 10 February outlines the Scottish Government’s support for making payroll deduction partnerships between employers and credit unions as popular in Scotland as it is in other countries like the United States.

ABCUL Chief Executive Mark Lyonette said: “It’s no coincidence that the world’s most successful credit union movements have close links with employers, making saving and repaying affordable loans really easy for people via payroll deduction.

“We’re delighted that the Scottish Government has responded to our call to make access to credit unions a standard workplace benefit, and we look forward to Scotland becoming a Credit Union Nation where employees, businesses and the wider economy all benefit from a more financially healthy population.”

The First Minister of Scotland Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon MSP has written a letter to employers highlighting the benefits of working with credit unions.

Nicola Sturgeon writes: “The Scottish Government recognises the valuable role played by credit unions in building financial health by providing financial services and products to a wide range of customers.

“So I am urging employers across Scotland to get in touch with a credit union to explore establishing a payroll deduction relationship with a view to improving financial health and boosting the productivity of Scotland’s businesses.”

There are over 100 credit unions in Scotland serving 375,000 people who are saving £454 million and borrowing £276 million.

The Scottish Government report can be read here: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2016/02/4045/0

 

Credit unions join forces to serve military personnel

The Ministry of Defence has made it possible for three of the UK’s leading credit unions to join forces and make simple savings accounts and loans available to the Armed Forces and their families.

Johnson Beharry VC joining London Mutual Credit Union

Johnson Beharry VC joining London Mutual Credit Union

The arrangement means that Armed Forces personnel will be able to save regularly or repay loans with a credit union via payroll deduction. Family members and retired personnel in receipt of a pension are also eligible to join.

The launch of this service is being marked with a celebration at the head office of the Royal British Legion in London on Thursday 15 October, which is International Credit Union Day.

A new website – www.joiningforcescu.co.uk – is also being launched with details of the services offered to Armed Forces personnel by the three credit unions and links to join.

Over the years, Armed Forces personnel have reported difficulties accessing credit because their job involves moving regularly and it can be challenging to build a good credit rating. For this reason, some personnel have reported being actively targeted by high cost lenders.

The appetite to facilitate regular saving and affordable borrowing for Forces personnel saw the Government exploring payroll deduction partnerships with credit unions, and following an application process, three of Britain’s largest and most successful credit unions – Plane Saver Credit Union, Police Credit Union and London Mutual Credit Union – have been selected to offer this service to Forces personnel.

Police Credit Union Chief Executive Peter Evans said: “The three credit unions are honoured to offer our services to Armed Forces personnel, and it is a great example of credit unions working co-operatively with each other and with the Ministry of Defence to deliver a service to the men and women of the Armed Forces.

“Joining a credit union gives military personnel access to regular savings and affordable credit with a financial services provider that understands their job and their lifestyle. Our credit unions can help them stay on top of their finances and steer clear of high cost lenders.”

Minister for Defence Personnel and Veterans Mark Lancaster MP said: “I’m delighted that credit union services will today be available to Armed Forces personnel. It is crucial that those service people who work so hard to keep Britain safe, both at home and abroad, can access easy and affordable ways to save and borrow.

“This helps to tackle an issue that has caused disadvantage and disappointment to some service members.”

One of the first people to join a credit union under the new arrangement is Lance Sergeant Johnson Beharry VC. Lance Sergeant Beharry – who became the first living recipient of the Victoria Cross since 1969 for saving the lives of his comrades in Iraq – has joined London Mutual Credit Union.

Johnson Beharry VC said: “I am pleased to join London Mutual Credit Union and I look forward to spreading the word about this new scheme for military personnel. It is often difficult for people in the Armed Forces to gain access to financial services, especially those serving overseas who have little or no way of getting credit in the UK. By joining a credit union, Armed Forces personnel will be able to access affordable loans when they need them and to plan for the future by saving directly from their pay packets through payroll deduction.”

Internationally, credit unions have a proven record of providing services to Armed Forces personnel. The largest credit union in the world, Navy Federal Credit Union, has offered savings, loans and a range of financial products to members of the United States Armed Forces and their families since 1933. Today, the credit union has around 5.7 million members across America and assets of $70 billion.

Stay up to date with all the very latest news via www.twitter.com/JoiningForcesCU.

Savings boost for London Capital Credit Union

London Capital Credit Union logoLondon Capital Credit Union has had one of its best months ever, with member savings rocketing by £300, 000 in March alone.

The credit union saw its savings deposits grow by almost 4% last month, taking the total amount of member savings to over £7.75 million for the first time.

Martin Groombridge, Chief Executive of London Capital Credit Union, said: “2015 is proving to be another exceptional year for us, with more people than ever turning to the credit union to find a safe home for their savings.

“With bank interest rates at rock bottom, the dividend offered by London Capital Credit Union looks very attractive – last year, for example, we paid 1.2% on all of our members’ savings. For an instant access account, this rate of return is not to be sniffed at.”

Martin adds that many people are also turning to the credit union because they like its ethics and philosophy of putting customers first.

“As a co-operative owned and controlled by its members, people like the fact that their money is staying in the community and not being used to generate profits for investors or speculators.”

London Capital Credit Union is dedicated to promoting saving and helping people deal with debt and now has over 11,000 members.

“At London Capital Credit Union, we believe that one of the best ways of keeping people out of the clutches of payday lenders and other high interest lenders is to encourage a savings habit and, by putting a little bit away each month, people can soon build up a pot of money to cover any unexpected expenses,” says Martin. “We are pleased that our message is getting through and that more and more people now see the credit union as a good place to save.”

London Capital Credit Union 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 locally owned and run co-operative, all the money saved in the credit union stays in the community and is used to help other local people.

Find out more at www.credit-union.coop.

Ten years of growth for London credit union

London Capital Credit Union logoLondon Capital Credit Union has welcomed the latest figures from the Bank of England which show that credit unions have grown dramatically over the last decade. 

While the most recent figures from 362 credit unions show credit union membership and lending have more than doubled over the past ten years, figures at London Capital show a thirty-fold increase in members, from 321 to 10,062.

Over the last ten years, London Capital Credit Union has also seen a 1400% increase in members’ savings from £436,000 to over £6 million.

The latest Bank of England figures are great news for British credit unions,” says Martin Groombridge, Chief Executive of London Capital Credit Union. “Since the first credit union was set up in Britain over 50 years ago, the sector has continued to thrive and it is good to see that growth has gathered pace in the last ten years.

“As our figures show, London Capital is one of the credit unions leading the charge and we are so proud to be delivering affordable financial services to thousands of Londoners.”

London Capital Credit Union is dedicated to promoting saving and helping people deal with debt. It provides secure savings and low cost loans for anyone living, working or studying in Barnet, Camden, City of London, Hackney, Haringey or Islington.

Across England, Scotland and Wales there are now over 1,173,200 people with credit union accounts.

As a co-operative, London Capital Credit Union is owned and controlled by its members – not outside shareholders. Members of the credit union can find out more about how their organisation has performed over the past year by attending the AGM which takes place on Tuesday 3rd March 2015, starting at 6.30pm in the Peel Centre, Great Percy Street, WC1X 9EY.

Find out more at www.credit-union.coop.

National first helps families fight off loan sharks

Martin Groombridge

Martin Groombridge

Hundreds of secondary school starters in Haringey have already opened a free £20 credit union savings account as part of a landmark financial awareness scheme by Haringey Council.

Application packs have been sent to nearly 3, 000 Haringey pupils starting Year 7 this term for a School Savers account with London Capital Credit Union, with nearly 200 students already signing up.

The council-funded scheme, the first of its kind in England, is designed to encourage children to get into the savings habit and promote alternatives to unscrupulous payday loan companies.

Accompanied by financial management lessons in schools, accounts are ‘locked in’ for two years, with students and their parents encouraged to add to their savings where possible.

Councillor Joe Goldberg, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Social Inclusion and Sustainability, said: “We want our children to be given every opportunity to learn about money and the different financial options available as they grow up.

“Giving every Year 7 child an account with a responsible credit union will give them a chance to start saving early on in life and understand the alternatives to the scourge of legal loan sharks colonising our high streets.”

Haringey Council has provided £750,000 in loans to the credit union in the last two years, which has more than 3,000 members in the borough – and the fastest growing contingent of anywhere in London.

The credit union has issued affordable loans worth almost £1 million since October 2012 and holds more than £1 million in savings from Haringey residents.

Martin Groombridge, chief executive of London Capital Credit Union, said: “We are very pleased to be working with Haringey Council in this way to encourage children to learn the importance of saving and budgeting.

“This monetary incentive is a fantastic way to get Haringey children to open savings accounts and for their families to benefit from the services of the credit union.”

Every Year 7 child who lives in Haringey or attends a school in the borough is eligible for an account, which can be opened by simply returning the application form sent to all pupils.

For more information and to download a copy of the application pack, visit www.haringey.gov.uk/creditunion

Credit unions are good for employers

Dave Prentis,   General Secretary of UNISON,   and Helen Baron, President of London Capital Credit Union.

Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON, and Helen Baron, President of London Capital Credit Union.

Dave Prentis, General Secretary of trade union UNISON, has become the 11,000th member of London Capital Credit Union.

Dave Prentis was signed into membership of the credit union as it launched an initiative to encourage more employers to offer transfers direct from employees’ wages to their credit union accounts.

In the UK, London Capital Credit Union is leading the way in the fight back against loan sharks and payday lenders by encouraging more people to use credit unions.

Chief Executive Martin Groombridge said: “Credit union members have access to fair and affordable loans and savings and it is in all employers’ interests to help their staff keep clear of money lenders that focus on profit and greed. As a member-owned co-operative, we are driven to improve the financial well-being of our members.”

Over the past year, London Capital Credit Union has seen a 47% increase in membership and is keen to work with employers that can offer payroll deduction to their staff.

Added Martin: “By enabling payroll deduction straight to a credit union account, employers are offering an easy and convenient way for employees to save. Financial stability can only be good for employees and their families.”

London Capital Credit Union is dedicated to promoting saving and helping people deal with debt. It provides secure savings and low cost loans for anyone living, working or studying in Barnet, Camden, City of London, Hackney, Haringey or Islington. Over the past year, it has seen a 62% increase in loans to members but at the same time has seen members’ savings increase by 59% to £6.6 million.

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.

Martin said: “Credit union membership is good for employees and employers, with both being able to benefit. Financial problems for employees can lead to stress and illness which can result in time off work, and this in turn leads to problems for employers. A credit union can provide the services and support to help employees manage their money effectively, creating a better workplace for all.”

Find out more at www.credit-union.coop.

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 www.credit-union.coop.