What are the benefits of a credit union?

A credit union, also known as co-operative, is a not-for-profit organisation which is set up by members that have something in common – whether it is the area they live in or work.

Here are seven benefits of choosing a credit union:

1. Credit Unions encourage you to save regularly with a variety of savings accounts and by doing so enable you to keep on top of your finances and access affordable credit.

2. Credit unions offer loans with affordable rates of interest that are way lower than payday and doorstep lenders. This is because they aren’t profit-focussed but just need to cover their operating costs.

3. If your employer is in partnership with a credit union, you can save and repay your loan directly from payroll.

4. Credit unions make saving regularly easy. In addition, their rate of return on savings accounts is higher than at a bank.

5. As credit unions are co-operatives and run by their members for their benefit, any profits that have been made will be shared as dividends on their savings. The dividend is agreed at the credit union’s AGM each year.

6. Credit unions often offer loans to those who may struggle to secure one from other mainstream lenders.

7. All money saved in a credit union is protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) of up to £85,000 per person and may never be lost.

Next steps:
Become a member of Hertsavers Credit Union today.
Already a member? You can refer a friend and earn up to £50 per referral. Find out more

References:
https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/loans/credit-unions/
https://www.findyourcreditunion.co.uk/about-credit-unions/
https://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/1211/6-benefits-of-using-a-credit-union.aspx
https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/what-are-the-benefits-of-a-credit-union/

Tackling loan sharks through our payroll deduction scheme

Hertsavers Credit Union has teamed up with Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) to promote their Payroll Saving and Loan Plan across Hertfordshire to ensure that employees who work in organisations, that are part of our Payroll Deduction Scheme, have a safe and reliable place to save and be protected from loan sharks.

Did you know that:

  • 53% of loan shark victims are in employment
  • The average loan shark loan is £3,500
  • 38% of victims have a household income of over £20,000
  • 79% of loan shark victims are perpetually worried or stressed about their loan.

In order to protect the employees from illegal money lending, we request that staff be allowed to save with us through a deduction from their payroll which is already available to: DHS staff; many police forces; postal workers; firefighters; NHS staff and many other employee groups.

If you or someone you know has been intimidated into taking an illegal loan from a loan shark, please get in touch with us on office@hertsavers.co.uk.

What is a credit union?

A credit union is a “friendly society” which is more commonly known as a co-operative. Credit unions are not-for-profit organisations which are set up by members that have something in common to benefit their community.

Credit Unions have a proven track record

In the UK, credit unions have been in existence for more than 50 years. They have continued to grow to provide loans and savings to over one million people across the England, Scotland and Wales. Currently, there are about three hundred credit unions in the UK. In fact, globally, there are 217 million credit union members in 105 different countries. This shows that credit unions are highly reputable (findyourcredit.co.uk, 2020).

Your money is safe

All credit unions are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
All money saved in a credit union is protected up to the value of £85,000 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Therefore, you can be reassured that your money is safe.

Who are credit unions for?

Credit unions are for everyone where they provide a financial community. Credit union members are required to save regularly and after which they are able to borrow loans from the pool of savings.

In terms of management, credit unions have a Board of Directors who offer their services and advice on a voluntary basis. They are elected at an Annual General Meeting by members of that credit union.

To become a member of a credit union, you need to share a ‘common bond’ with other members. This could either be through working or living in the same areas.

For Hertsavers, our common bond is Hertfordshire.

Join us today.

References:
Money Saving Expert

Find your Credit Union

Beware of Loan Sharks

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) encourages people to join credit unions, in order to save regularly or enable them to obtain legal, affordable loans, when emergencies arise. They have launched a pilot scheme, Stop Loan Sharks, that helps in educating people about loan sharks and support those who have fallen victims of illegal money lending.

Here are six tips to help people spot the signs of illegal money lending and avoid falling victim to loan sharks:

1. Do not borrow loans from people who you speak to you in a public place including pubs, at the school gates or in your workplace.

2. Loan sharks look like ordinary people. However, this is how you can spot them:

  • You won’t get any paperwork like a credit agreement or record of payments
  • They will offer you a loan in cash or bank transfer
  • They may add a huge amount of interest to the loan
  • They will threaten you if you fall behind in your payments
  • You may be forced to hand over your passport, bank card, benefit card or driving licence as security on the loan.

3. You can call the 24-hour confidential hotline (0300 555 2222) for advice, if you or you know someone who has fallen victim of a loan shark. You can also report a loan shark using their confidential online form or by email.

4. You are under no legal obligation to repay the debt so don’t worry!

5. To find out if someone is an authorised lender, you can visit the FCA register online.

6. If you do need to borrow a loan from a reliable and reputable organisation, then look no further than a credit union. A credit union works to benefit their members, helping to provide communities with affordable loans and savings products. At Hertsavers Credit Union, we provide affordable rates with no hidden costs. What’s more is that we are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority which means that we have a set of rules that we maintain, and which set out how we are managed.

To find out more about the ‘Stop Loan Sharks’ Scheme and the IMLT, you can visit their website.

Manage your money and reach your financial goals

In these difficult times, people have either become accidental savers with fewer expenses or finding their debts escalating out of control. While some factors affecting financial well-being are beyond an individual’s control, understanding financial knowledge and money management can help people through difficult times or times of prosperity.

Therefore, we would like to recommend the MoneySkills app which has been created by researchers from the Centre for Business in Society (CBiS) at Conventry University. The app combines practical tips and step-by-step guides to help you manage your money and reach your financial goals.

It has the following features:

• Goals tool that will help you set and track your financial goals
• Ezines that are short and easy to read
• Explainer videos that will teach you how to budget, set goals, save money and more
• Interactive budget planning tool

What’s more, this app is FREE and is available to download from the App Store or the Google Play Store.

For more information, you can visit their website.

Key worker loans now launched

At Hertsavers, we believe in building a community and appreciate all the effort, dedication and hard work that has been carried out by our key workers.

To express our gratitude, we have introduced a new loan, the Key Worker Loan, for all key workers including NHS, Council, Emergency and School staff.

The Key Worker Loans of £1,000 is repayable over up to 60 months at just 0.5% per month interest (6.3% APR). Loans are subject to affordability and credit checks.

New members joining and saving through payroll deduction can get up to £2,000 unless they are a homeowner in which case, they can borrow £3,000.

New key worker members joining and saving through a standing order, will be restricted to loans of £1,000.

Key Worker Loans may be added to existing loans providing affordability checks are satisfied. Any combined loan will attract the new loan rate of 0.5% (6.3% APR).

To apply, complete the form.

Herts Urgent Care take advantage of payroll deduction scheme

The fight against COVID-19 has seen one semi-retired GP, Dr Richard Norris, a Herts Urgent Care (HUC) out of hours GP from Bedford, return full time to the frontline.

We are proud to announce that HUC is now one of the employers whose staff can save with Hertsavers Credit Union through a deduction from their payroll.

New members employed at HUC can apply for an Introductory Loan of up to £2,000 repayable over up to 60 months.

Apply for a loan today.

 

Child Benefit Loan top up scheme – a huge success

Since its launch in April 2020, we are pleased to announce that our Child Benefit Loan top-up scheme has been a huge success, in particular with parents in Stevenage, who are taking full advantage of this great innovation.

Just three months after you take your Child Benefit Loan, you can top up your loan by a further £250 and after another three months a further £250 top up.

Our regular top-up is just another reason to refer your friends and earn the £50 referral bonus. You can find out more about the referral scheme here.

To apply for a loan top-up, email us on admin@cus.coop.

Open Banking

Open Banking is an easy and safe way which enables Hertsavers to review your bank statements when you apply for a loan.

All you need to do is to give us your permission and we log into a secure connection and view them online, therefore, saving you the hassle of printing, scanning and emailing dozens of pages.

With editable forms, Open Banking and faster payments, we have made applying for and getting a loan as simple as it can be.

Learn more about Open Banking from the video below:

(Source: Open Banking)

Take advantage of a loan top-up

From April 2020, Child Benefit Borrowers will be able to top up their loan by £250 after three months and after a further three months, a further £250. Commitment to savings will remain and as usual, savings may not be withdrawn while you have an outstanding loan.

If you want to top up your loan, please email us on admin@cus.coop.