(Frequently Asked Questions)
A credit union is a cooperative financial institution that is owned and controlled by its members and operated for the purpose of promoting thrift, providing credit at competitive rates, and providing other financial services to its members. Many credit unions exist to further community development or sustainable international development on a local level. Solent Credit Union encourages members to save regularly, and can thereby provide affordable loans. About 10percent of members of Solent Credit Union volunteer to work within the credit union, and thereby benefit all the members, and the local community. The activities of the credit union are Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) – Registration No. 213753.
All the members have something in common, called a “common bond”. For Solent Credit Union, the common bond is people who live or work within the Southampton postcode area. Members save regularly together to build up a pool of money. Members can then apply for a loan from the pool when they need it, provided they can afford to pay it back. Rather than applying its profit to pay corporate investors and other financial institutions, the credit union is directed to provide low cost loans, very low service charges and dividends to its member savers. Members can make regular savings by standing order or in cash at our office or one of the customer service points.
Solent Credit Union is registered with the office of the Information Commissioner and operates entirely within the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998. This also allows you to get copies of information we might hold about you in our records. All board members and staff sign a confidentiality agreement and none of your details are passed outside of the Credit union except with your permission or as allowed under our Data Protection Registration or where required by law. None of your details are passed to others within the Credit Union unless there is a valid reason for doing so.
Your money is totally safe. The maxium that you can save with the Credit Union is £15,000. The Credit Union is a part of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, which covers 100% of your savings. We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority, fully insured and both internally and externally audited. There is no danger to your savings.
It is run by the members who each get a vote to elect a board of directors from the membership. All members over 18 can stand for election to the board. Solent Credit Union is run by voluntary staff supported by one part-time worker who is not a manager. The volunteer Board of Directors includes the following positions: President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary, Marketing Director, HR Director and Loans Officer.The board has three other member places and they have no portfolio. In an addition there is a Supervisory Committee which checks on procedures and day-to-day operation of the credit union. All board and committee members are members of the Credit Union and are elected at the Annual General Meeting. There are three other groups and these are open for members to join. They are The Treasury Team, External Affairs and Internal Affairs.
Members of the credit union are also owners of the credit union and live or work throughout in the SO postal area. The relationship with members is important and decisions are based on that relationship. You won’t be talking to a call centre, but to real local people that you will get to know. Each application will be considered individually. Our decision is not, just what a computer says, your record with us and circumstances will be taken into account. The credit union is not-for-profit and any excess income is returned to the members after being agreed at Solent Credit Union Annual General Meeting.
- Full membership of Solent Credit Union is open to anyone the age of 16 or over. They can be either living, or working, or both within the SO postcode area. Students Note: Working includes being enrolled in full time education within the SO Postal area.
- There is a one-off joining fee of £4 for adult members.
- Solent Credit Union also operates a Junior Savings Club which is freely available to under 16s.
You will need to complete a Membership Application Form and bring it to the Solent Credit Union Office at 21 East Street, Southampton, SO14 3HG or one of our Customer Service Points with proof of identity and proof of address (see below) along with the £4 joining fee and your first deposit of at least £1. Your share balance (savings) must increase to more than £5 within one year of joining.
If you wish to pay future deposits by standing order please download a standing order form and return it to the office along with your application.
Young people under the age of 16 can join the JUNIOR SAVERS. Please see the relevant Junior Savers page for further information.
We need to see at least two documents: one for evidence of identity (including date of birth), and one for proof of address. Refer to the list on the application form for acceptable items. The documents must be originals and valid (if a utility bill, it must be no more than 3 months old), current or the most recent. Solent Credit Union, as an authorised firm, is operating within the Money Laundering Regulations and the Criminal Justice Act 1993. We require proof of your identity, date of birth and address before you can become a member.
Please Complete the Form “Application For Corporate Membership” form. Download The Corporate Membership Form.
We need to see a number for documents and also Identity and Address confirmation of the owners. This is detailed on the form. Please complete an application form and bring it to the Solent Credit Union Office at 21 East Street, Southampton, SO14 3HG or one of our Customer Service Points with all the documentation required along with the £4 joining fee and your first deposit of at least £1. Your share balance (savings) must increase to more than £5 within one year of joining.
Note: Solent Credit Union, as an authorised firm, is operating within the Money Laundering Regulations and the Criminal Justice Act 1993. If you wish to pay future deposits by standing order and return it to the office along with your application.
All financial organisations need to know who their customer is. The level of ID we request will be the level required by the Money Laundering Regulations.
You can save as much as you like up to £15,000. The minimum amount is just £1 initially but any amount can be saved. Collection Points will not take more than £500 over one month from one member.
Those using our loans services can also contribute to the Credit Union by saving alongside their loan repayments. Your savings history affects your ability to borrow.
When you join, you will be asked to fill in a ‘Nominated Beneficiary’ section on the Application Form, indicating who you would like to receive all your savings when you die. You can change your Nominated Beneficiary at any time by requesting and completing a new form. It is important that you complete the Beneficiary Form and keep it up-to-date.
On death the money will be paid out to your nominated beneficiary on sight of a death certificate.
You may receive an annual dividend payment. This is like Interest but it is not paid automatically. The Credit Union is a members’ co-operative run on a not-for-profit basis. Once operating costs have been covered, any excess income can be paid back to saving members in the form of an annual dividend, approved by members at the Annual General Meeting.
The amount paid to Members, if any, will depend on the financial performance of the Credit Union. There is no guarantee that a dividend will be paid every year, especially in the first few years of the Credit Union. Dividend payments to individual Members will be calculated on their average Savings over the previous year. Priority will always be given to Junior Savers.
To withdraw your savings, you would complete a “Shares Withdrawal Application” form and send it through to us or use the online service by going to our member area. If you have not used the members area before you will be required to provide a password and some identity information.
You can close your account by withdrawing all your savings. Simply complete a “Shares Withdrawal Application” form ensuring that you tick the box “If you wish to close your account,” and send it through to us . We would then process this and a raise a cheque which can be collected from the Credit Union Office or if you let us have a pre-paid envelope, your cheque can be posted to you. Your account will then be closed. We do not pay out by credit transfer when closing accounts. Please read the note below.
Note: If you have a Loan from the Credit Union you may only be allowed to withdraw any Savings which exceed the outstanding Loan balance. Also if you have pledged your Shares to guarantee someone else’s Loan you will not be allowed to withdraw them below the total guaranteed sum. Under these circumstances you would not be allowed to close your account.
Please let us know by any means as soon as possible so that we do not send any information to your previous address. In order for us to record your new address in our system or send any information out to your new address, we need to see “Proof of address”, in the form of a tenancy agreement or letter from a government office or a bill, not a mobile phone bill. This is to comply with the money laundering laws. Identity theft can be achieved by getting someone’s information sent to another address where it can be intercepted and so we have to be very careful to be certain that the member has actually moved.
Up to 10% of the total credit union membership can be people who have ceased to qualify. Once this level is reached Members may be asked to leave. Note: New law passed Autumn 2011 to be enacted in 2012, will enable us to extend the limit on this rule, but we must put the change to our members at our AGM in a resolution posted to members with the meeting notice. Our AGM is usually held during late March.
If you pay by standing order, you could complete a standing order form at our office at 21 East Street, Southampton, SO14 3HG.
You may contact us about your account by telephone provided that you can answer security questions. Some transactions will always need to have your signature before they can be processed.
Yes. To access our members online area please click the button under the header on this page.
A Credit Union Member is a part owner and shareholder of the Credit Union. All members have an equal say, one vote at meetings of the Credit Union. Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives. We exist to serve our members, not to make a profit. Unlike most other financial institutions, credit unions do not issue stock or pay dividends to outside stockholders. Instead, earnings are returned to our members in the form of lower loan rates, very much lower fees and an annual dividend.