Tag Archives: financial inclusion

ABCUL launches Work Not Worry social media campaign

ABCUL – the Association of British Credit Unions – has launched a social media campaign, Work Not Worry, to raise awareness of the benefits of partnerships with credit unions among employers and to encourage more employers to establish new relationships with their local credit union.

Evidence suggests that financial stress costs the UK economy £121bn (Neyber 2016) and 30% of employees are making uninformed financial decisions about saving and spending (CIPD, 2017). 26% of working age adults in the UK have no savings and 1 in 4 workers have lost sleep over money worries (CIPD, 2017).

Work Not Worry

Credit unions offer savings and affordable loans with payments deducted from pay and, for over 30 years, employers have used the services of credit unions in their workplace. This includes household brands and institutions such as Admiral Insurance, Royal Mail, British Airways and the NHS. Research funding by Citi Foundation states that 70% of employees who take advantage of credit union partnerships feel more financially capable and better supported and 83% of employer partnerships demonstrate Corporate Social Responsibility to staff by providing a material benefit at little or no cost to them.

A majority of employers say working with credit unions improves the financial capability of staff and thus helps create a more productive and better supported workforce.  This is backed by Money Advice Service research on employer best practices on financial challenges and their impact in the workplace, which states that 59% of employees with current financial worries say money concerns prevent them from performing their best at work.

A lack of savings is a major problem for many workers, but credit unions’ offer Save As You Borrow  – which asks people to save a small amount while repaying their loan – and this has great benefits in creating a savings habit.  Research by the Fairbanking Foundation found that while only 26% of credit union borrowers saved regularly before joining their credit union, 71% intend to save regularly after repaying their loan.

Matt Bland, Head of Policy & Communications at ABCUL, said: “In our conversations with employers, it is clear that many are not aware of the financial difficulties facing their staff.  Those that are have sadly seen it became a serious issue in the workplace before they had chance to respond. We regularly hear horror stories of people falling into a downward cycle of repeated and escalating payday loans.

“Credit unions have a proved track record of turning borrowers into savers. Research such as the Save As You Borrow report proves that credit unions are playing a vital role in helping their members become financially responsible. The report shows that credit unions turn 71% of borrowers into savers and that 96% of employees that are encouraged to use payroll deduction through the credit union have found it helpful.

“All employers have to do once a partnership is set up is spend a couple of minutes making the deductions each pay day – one file transfer, one payment. All employees have to do is agree to a deduction of their choice per month – and it comes directly from their salary, making life easy for everyone.”

The campaign runs for four weeks from 9 July – 3 August. For more information about the campaign and to search for a credit union partnership, visit http://worknotworry.org/

Nine out of ten members rate London Capital Credit Union

Eight in ten credit union members nationally are satisfied with the services offered, while in north London, London Capital Credit Union sees nine out of ten members rating its financial services as ‘very high’.

LCCU logo

The largest ever survey of credit union customers, published by Financial Inclusion Centre, found that 81% of members across the country were extremely satisfied or very satisfied with their credit union, while 84% said they would recommend a friend or family member. This compares to a recent Which? survey showing that mainstream banks’ average overall customer satisfaction score was only 68%.

Islington-based London Capital Credit Union is one of the largest and fastest growing credit unions in the capital, with over 15,000 members and outstanding lending of nearly £12 million. As a not-for-profit co-operative, London Capital Credit Union provides savings and low cost loans to people living, working or studying in Barnet, Camden, City of London, Hackney, Haringey and Islington.

Financial Inclusion Centre research also demonstrated just how important the broad range of financial services being delivered by these not-for-profit financial providers are, with the majority of respondents using their credit union as an affordable and fair source of borrowing – giving them an invaluable alternative to high-cost credit such as payday loans, rent-to-own firms and door-step lenders.

Credit unions work hard to help their members understand financial issues and members are shown to score well compared to the general population on a range of financial capability measures, saying they feel they have their finances under control and are confident in dealing with money matters.

Martin Groombridge, Chief Executive of London Capital Credit Union, said: “The findings of the largest ever credit union customer satisfaction survey back up what we see at London Capital Credit Union and show that most members are extremely satisfied with the services provided.

“With the current pressures on household finances, credit unions such as ours provide an essential lifeline for many, offering affordable loans in time of need and supporting people to develop a saving habit. At London Capital Credit Union, we believe it is important to help people make the most of their finances and this survey shows the hugely positive contribution that credit unions make to our communities.”

Mick McAteer, Co-Director of Financial Inclusion Centre, added: “These results are very encouraging and go to show that credit unions are highly regarded by those that use them, with higher satisfaction rates than mainstream banks.”

 A copy of the report, ‘An Insight into Credit Union Membership’, can be found here.

Volunteering does Omkar credit!

When Omkar Hushing 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.

Omkar Hushing

Omkar Hushing

“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 www.credit-union.coop.

New text messaging service makes managing money easier

Martin Groombridge, Chief Executive of London Capital Credit Union

Martin Groombridge, Chief Executive of London Capital Credit Union

A new text messaging service from London Capital Credit Union will help savers and borrowers keep track of their money by allowing them to find out their account balances using their mobile phone.

The locally-owned credit union offers people in the area both savings accounts and affordable loans and the text balance service is one of a number of ways that London Capital Credit Union is making managing money easier. Members can already access their accounts online and a new mobile app is due to be launched later this year.

By texting the words “mybalance” to the credit union at any time, credit union members who have registered their mobile phone numbers can receive a text message listing their account balances. Balances are updated in real time, meaning loans, savings accounts and membership account balances are all shown on the text service.

Martin Groombridge, Chief Executive of London Capital Credit Union, said: “Staying in control of your money is easiest when you know how much money you have in your account so we are pleased to be able to introduce this new service to help our members manage their money.

“Our new text messaging service is available 24 hours a day so members can check their balances at any time. Texts are charged at standard rates and it is free for members to receive their balance information.”

Martin added: “We like the human touch and are proud of the advice we can give to our members face to face, but we know there is a role for modern technology to help members keep track of their own finances.”

London Capital Credit Union is a not-for-profit co-operative dedicated to promoting saving and dealing with debt. Established in 1962 it 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.

Credit unions welcome £1 million a year commitment from Lloyds Banking Group

ABCUL logo

ABCUL welcomes Lloyds Banking Group support for credit unions.

Lloyds Banking Group has re-emphasised its commitment to providing leadership in the area of financial inclusion by announcing its intention to provide £1 million per year to credit unions. It has also committed to support 1 in every 4 of Britain’s social banking customers.

This announcement falls during the week the Group revealed its full Helping Britain Prosper Plan where, for the first time, it revealed seven separate and significant public commitments to address some of the big issues facing Britain today.

Graham Lindsay, Director, Responsible Business for Lloyds Banking Group said: “Our Helping Britain Prosper Plan incorporates bold, public commitments to help address some of the big issues facing Britain today. It’s about putting customers and communities at the heart of everything we do. The Plan is not just for those customers enjoying relative prosperity, but also those facing financial difficulties. For this reason we believe our annual investment of £1m into Credit Unions is one of our most critical.”

Mark Lyonette, Chief Executive of the Association of British Credit Unions (ABCUL) said, “We very much welcome the package of support for the credit union sector as announced today by Lloyds Banking Group. We look forward to working with the Group to ensure this generous investment complements the work that is already taking place to strengthen the sector. The Credit Union Expansion Project will benefit greatly from the secondment of Lloyds’ experts and the expansion of the signposting scheme should help many more people access appropriate services from their local credit union.”

Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud said: “Credit unions play a vital role in helping people build up savings and have access to loans, especially those who find it difficult to have mainstream high street bank accounts. This is why we are investing £38m to help credit unions modernise and grow.

“I absolutely welcome this support from Lloyds for extra funding and I particularly welcome the commitment to send experienced banking staff to support the growing efficiency of credit unions. I hope other banks will also consider this and provide support to help local credit unions.”

Lloyds Banking Group commenced a pilot in September 2013 through 25 Lloyds and Halifax branches in the Leeds area to signpost appropriate customers to the Leeds City Credit Union and local money management charities. Over 1,000 customers to date have taken away information about these organisations.

The approach of the pilot programme, which was due to end this month, has been adopted on a permanent basis and will be expanded to a further nine UK flagship locations with the cascade of basic information becoming available through all Lloyds and Halifax branches.

Chris Smyth, Chief Executive, Leeds City Credit Union, said: “Credit Unions play a critical role. We know this from our pre-Christmas trading and coinciding with the Lloyds pilot, was 25% higher than the prior year. In this period our lending was almost £2m. This represents a terrific saving in terms of interest of £1.3m had these loans gone to a high cost lender instead.

“Our post Christmas trading during January and February is 100% up on the same period last year. We believe this is an exceptional turnaround and may indicate a serious shift in mood across our target market towards the credit union – which is great news for all.”

Lloyds Banking Group is Britain’s biggest provider of social bank accounts.