Friday, 9 September 2011

Why would I join a Credit Union?

Hurrah for Credit Unions, where they understand that "It's our money"! This week, we're delighted to welcome the CEO of Waltham Forest Credit Union, Claire Walters, to our blog. You can follow their twitter stream @WFCreditUnion too!




Why would I join a Credit Union? I'm not poor...

I would be very rich indeed if I’d got a pound for every time I’d heard that, or variations on that theme. Credit Unions used to be thought of as a “poor man’s bank” and perception seems to have got stuck in a time warp somewhere!

We have are thousands of members who have lots of financial options who also choose to become members of Credit Unions.

Why choose a Credit Union?

They’re ethical, local, mutual and startlingly efficient and effective at making the money saved by the members work really hard in the communities they serve.

They don’t pay fat-cat salaries (I wish!) and any surplus gets paid back to members at the end of each year.

They also offer free life assurance and all deposits are fully guaranteed under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme so it’s safer than houses, especially at the moment...

High rates of Return!

Our Credit Union paid a dividend of 1.5% last year which knocked spots off most easy-access savings accounts on the High St. Kids accounts got 3% from us. Other Credit Unions are offering as much as 8% if you’re in an area which has had their Credit Union running for a while and some are big enough to offer mortgages, ISAs and other major financial products.

Ethical and affordable lending!

We also offer affordable loans to anyone who needs one as long as we can assure ourselves that they can actually afford it in practical terms – i.e. we need to see a budget and will help applicants to develop one they are of the “fingers-in-ears-la-la-la” variety! 

If you have an erratic credit history, we won’t just write you off as a no-hoper. If we can, we will still try to help you and together we can work towards repairing your credit rating. If we can’t help, we will refer you to somebody who can help you deal with your debts.

For first-time borrowers who haven’t saved with us, a £500 loan paid back over a year would cost around £65 in interest whereas someone who’s saved with us for a while could pay about the same amount of interest for £1,000 paid back over the same period.

For longstanding savers with a good credit history, we can beat just about any standard bank offer – a car loan of £7,000 at 6.3% APR, for instance, again, as long as we can see the affordability...

A safety net!

So, essentially, putting a regular bit of cash aside in a Credit Union, makes a lot of sense for anybody. It means you’re likely to get your finances back on track if you’ve been trying to ignore them recently, it means you’re very likely to get a loan if you need it and if you don’t, you’ll be helping lots of people in your own community who need a helping hand and getting a dividend too. 

This means that you can be a good citizen without it costing you anything and getting payback into the bargain – in my world, that’s a win-win.

If you’re the sort of person who recycles, gives to charity when you can, tries to shop ethically – why in the world haven’t you joined a Credit Union?!

It's our money!

If you just want somewhere safe to put your money which doesn’t line the pockets of bankers and city suits and makes money work really hard in a profitable but accountable and ethical way – hopefully, by now, you know what I’m going to suggest...

To find your nearest Credit Union go to


Individual Member - £1.00 yearly Business Subscriber - £30.00 yearly

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