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.
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!
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
10th May 2020
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 keyworker 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 a new loan rate of 0.5% (6.3% APR).
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.
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.
We have been closely monitoring updates on the spread of the Corona virus. The health and safety of our members is our first priority so we have made a decision to cancel the AGM which was to take place on Thursday 19 March 2020.
Thank you for understanding and support.
With kind regards,
Hertsavers Credit Union team
Coronavirus Contingency Plan
16th March 2020
Due to the Coronavirus, we may need to change our work practice due to reduced staffing or staff working from home.
The rate at which emails are received has significantly increased with more members requesting withdrawals. This increase in emails means that the time we take to respond may increase and hence your withdrawal may take longer than usual.
By far the quickest way of getting a share withdrawal is through the Members Area on the website. If you have yet to register for the Members Area on the website you should do it straight away. You can register here.
Members Area share withdrawals are processed on a daily basis and if submitted before 9 am will show in your bank account the same day or after the next working day. By comparison, email requests for share withdrawals could take up to three working days.
Hertsavers Credit Union team
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