Solent Credit Union AGM

We are pleased to be able to make available the minutes of our recent AGM.

Reestablishing a link with the Churches

Solent Credit Union reestablishing its link with the Churches

A bit of history

Originally Solent Credit Union was set up by a group of Christians. Prompted by Chris Davis, the Southampton City Missioner, who, through his work with the financially disadvantaged in the City, saw the need for a Credit Union or similar, which could help those who were in financial straits, as an ethical alternative to loan sharks and doorstep lenders. A group therefore came together from churches of different denominations across the city which established Sanctuary Credit Union and which, in spite of mergers first with Southampton Co-operators CU and then with Eastleigh CU, remains the surviving legal entity.

The idea was that local churches, through their social outreach, would have contacts with people who would benefit from membership of SCU and would signpost people in that direction. Unfortunately, the link with the churches never materialised in sufficient numbers and was finally dropped after the merger with Eastleigh CU. Despite this, a good proportion of our volunteers are Christian.

We miss the relationship

The churches in South Hampshire run their own initiatives and also support a variety of organisations that focus on the people Solent Credit Union serves or would like to serve; organisations such as Christians Against Poverty https://capuk.org/, Communicare https://communicareinsouthampton.org.uk/, Good Neighbours https://www.goodneighbours.org.uk/, Olive Branch http://www.theolivebranch.org.uk/, SCRATCH https://www.scratchcharity.co.uk/, Southampton City Mission http://www.southamptoncitymission.co.uk/, Street Pastors https://www.streetpastors.org/, Winchester Churches Nightshelter http://www.wcns.org.uk/ and YMCA https://www.ymca.org.uk/. And of course, many Christians are involved in other organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureaux and Southampton Voluntary Services.

We would like to re-establish links with churches and church organisations. We would like to involve some members of churches as Directors of SCU. We would like to call for giving, prayer and volunteering support from churches. We are not looking for a one-way flow of benefits: we provide services to our public that few others can provide. We support saving on a regular basis separate from one’s main account: for a special purpose, for an unforeseen emergency or to discourage spontaneous spending. We offer payroll deduction schemes for willing employers, both for savings and for loan repayment. We offer affordable loans, and we can help applicants consolidate high-interest payday loans and come up with a bit more cash as well for a considerably lower monthly outlay. We encourage practical money management. Our services go along with a human face to saving and borrowing.

How do we go about resolving this lack of connection?

We would love to hear what churches and church-based organisations would like from us: where they feel we could support them in their service to the public. And we would love to involve churches and church people in our organisation, as volunteers and Directors, so they became part of our face on the future. To be very clear, we are an organisation dedicated to serving people of all faiths and none, and are not proposing any change to this.

We’d love to talk to you. We are developing a new strategy and plans for the future, and would like your help.

For more information, please contact one of these people:

Brian Ridsdale brianr@solentcreditunion.co.uk 07710038594

Gordon Cockburn gordonc@solentcreditunion.co.uk

SCU website: www.solentcreditunion.co.uk

Channel 5 Documentary – Press Release

Solent Credit Union praises the new Channel 5 documentary “They lend it, you spend it: The loan shop” in their recent press release which can be found by clicking the link below

Christmas Raffle Winner

Solent Credit Union’s first free Christmas raffle for members, was won by long-standing member Della Jones who was delighted to be the lucky recipient, following the draw. Our office manager, Jo (pictured left), was pleased to deliver her luxury hamper with all good wishes for Christmas from the Credit Union.

#WishYouWereSaving

Why should I save? And why with Solent Credit Union?

Saving is easy and simple. It doesn’t need to be large amounts or that often it just needs to be on a regular basis, and an amount that suits you. Set yourself goals that do not cost the earth, for example you could save anything from £5.00 to £25.00 per week, or more if you wish. As the weeks go past the amounts that you save will begin to pile up and towards the end of the year you can put the money you have saved towards an emergency stash. This may prove handy in the case of an unexpected bill or breakage. If you have any extra money on top of your emergency stash you can then use that extra money to save up for a birthday, holiday or special occasion.

 

But why Solent Credit Union (SCU)?

Solent Credit Union is a co-operative bank. This means that SCU is democratically ‘owned’ and ‘operated’ its members, you (if you are or choose to become a member). Any surpluses the bank makes in a financial year are equally shared and given back to the members. So how do I ‘own’ and ‘operate’ SCU? You pay a small joining fee of £5.00 when you become a member. This then allows you to vote for the directors you want to run SCU.

 

I (PO) have interviewed the Manager at Front of House and a volunteer at Solent Credit Union. They give tips below on how to save and why it’s an important thing to consider doing.

Interview with Manager at Front of House (FOH):

PO: Could you quickly introduce yourself stating what you do at Solent Credit Union?

FOH: My name is Jo and my role is Manager at the Front of House.

PO: When did you first join Solent Credit Union?

FOH: Three years ago.

PO: Why did you join Solent Credit Union?

FOH: Two things caused me to join Solent Credit Union, the first being my mum. She is with London Credit Union and loves credit unions. The second thing being that I was studying an AAT course.

PO: What do you love about saving?

FOH: You can build up a contingency fund and build up savings.

PO: Can you recommend any saving tips? And, how did they help you?

FOH: Save a small amount each week or have a standing order and you will be surprised at the end investment.

 

Interview with a current volunteer at Solent Credit Union (V):

PO: Could you quickly introduce yourself stating what you do at Solent Credit Union?

V: My name is Gordon and I have been a volunteer at the Solent Credit Union for 4 ½ years. I come in one day a week and I do a variety of things such as looking at loans and website solutions.

PO: When did you first join Solent Credit Union?

V: In June 2014

PO: Why did you join Solent Credit Union?

V: I joined to volunteer. The previous summer (2013) the Archbishop of Canterbury wanted to put Wonga out of business, because it had highly unfair charges. It took about another year before I got involved after talking to someone who volunteered at Solent Credit Union.

PO: What do you love about saving?

V: What I love most about saving is that it will usually work out cheaper to save up and buy something rather than paying for something monthly. A good example is mobile phones. Having saved and bought a handset, my bill is only £7.50 per month, but would be at least £20.00 if the handset was included. Over a 24 month contract that would be £300.00 which is probably about twice what I paid for my phone!

PO: Can you recommend any saving tips?

V: Look for a better value for money, shop around and you can often find things much cheaper than what you are paying for at the moment. Then you have extra money available that you can save each month!

To summarise you can set aside small amount of cash each week and shop around to get the best deals to lower your spending costs and increase the amount you save each week. With your cash that you do save why not open a savings account with us to make sure it all stays safe and in one place? You can do this online or pop in store!

Have you got more saving tips to share?

Please email pressofficer@solentcreditunion.co.uk with your tips!

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @SolentCreditU and like us on Facebook @joinSCU for more news about SCU and our upcoming campaign!

 

Christmas Raffle

Welcome to this year’s FREE members only raffle from your credit union for a luxury hamper and other prizes! The lucky winners will be drawn at random in the office on the 14th December and will be notified by phone that day so make sure we have your up-to-date phone number.”
Open to savers and borrowers. Loan repayments must be up to date

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Case Study in id verification

Case Study in id verification

Taken from The Times, Troubleshooter, Saturday November 3 2018

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/

Marcus misses the mark

I have power of attorney (POA) for my mother’s financial affairs and was attracted by the interest rate offered by Goldman Sachs’s new Marcus account. I wanted to invest about £30,000 of her money.

After a couple of conversations with the Marcus call centre, when I explained that my mother will be 100 on Christmas Day and suffers from dementia, I was told that she needed to open an account online with my help, after which I should download and complete the POA form.

This went well until the website called for proof of identity and none of the options were applicable to my mother; she does not hold a passport or a driving licence, nor any of the alternatives. Another call to Marcus resulted in a “computer says no” moment. I was unable to open the account, nor could she prove her identity, so I could go no further.
Tim Worrall, Kingsley, Cheshire

This is an interesting example of the potential digital exclusion of older people from financial products. Until this week, Marcus Bank’s online-only account was offering the best return on an easy-access account at 1.5 per cent. In theory, POA should offer those who hold it the same ability to manage money as the person they are holding it for, but many complain that they come up against resistance or a lack of understanding of how it works from frontline bank staff.

Companies need to identify customers for anti-money laundering purposes, as well as their own commercial ones, and each company will have policies on identification and what kind of ID they will accept. General industry guidance says that where a person deals with assets under a POA that person is also a customer of the company, consequently, the identity of holders of POA should be verified too.

The FCA says it is unusual to open a new account once a POA is in place, but with savings rates so poor there must be a lot of people who want to make their parents’ or relatives’ savings work harder.

The fact that Mr Worrall’s mother has dementia should not mean that he has to forgo trying to protect her money. It is likely that a much older person will not have a passport or driving licence, in which case the FCA expects banks to have other options for providing identification.

The Money Advice Service says banks should accept alternatives “such as a benefits letter, immigration status document, or a letter from a prison governor, care-home manager, homeless shelter or place of study. “Unfortunately, FCA evidence suggests that some bank staff and customers aren’t aware of these options.”

Mr Worrall has since been contacted by Goldman Sachs, which has apologised for his difficulties and agreed that two documents from the proof of address list would suffice.

Mr Worrall says: “I duly uploaded two such documents and tried to complete the registration for my mother, using my postal address, telephone number and email, but was unsuccessful. I subsequently received an email confirming the registration and the opening of a Marcus account in my mother’s name, perhaps following a manual intervention? After that Marcus called me to explain that I would need to register my POA by downloading and completing its form and producing the original POA registered with the Office of the Public Guardian; they would also send me a Marcus form to prove my own identity, and I should send all the documents back to them in the post. It was a clunky process which was unclear from the website.”

A spokesman for Marcus says: “We work together with each account holder to make the verification process as simple as possible, but in this instance the customer was unable to provide an approved ID document to complete the sign-up process. We are working to resolve the issue.”

Someone Out There Loves the Credit Union

The 2018 Budget includes a number of packages directed at supporting and promoting the role and work of the Credit Union movement in the Community.

https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/budget-2018

The measures include:

Prized-linked savings scheme pilot for credit unions

Government has announced that it will launch a pilot of a new prize-linked savings scheme for credit unions to boost peoples’ financial resilience through encouraging saving and to raise awareness of the credit union sector.

No-interest loans scheme pilot

For some people, even borrowing from social and community lenders can be unaffordable. Therefore, the government, working with leading debt charities and the banking industry, will launch a feasibility study to help to design a pilot for a no-interest loans scheme early next year.

Dormant assets fund to target access to affordable credit

In August 2018, the government announced that a new independent body would be established to promote financial inclusion. It will be responsible for deploying an initial £55 million of funding from dormant bank accounts, primarily to address the problem of access to affordable credit.

Affordable Credit Challenge Fund

The government will provide £2 million to launch a challenge fund to promote innovative technological solutions that will harness the power of the UK’s world-leading Fintech industry to support social and community lenders.

Breathing space for people in debt

Following the Financial Guidance and Claims Act 2018, the Budget announces a consultation on a breathing space scheme for people in problem debt. The scheme will introduce a 60-day period of protection from creditor action to recover debts to help people make plans to pay back their debts in a sustainable way.

Allow Regulated Social Landlords (RSLs) to refer to sources of affordable credit

The government will simplify regulation to make it easier for RSLs to direct tenants to alternatives to high-cost credit.

The announcements bring long-overdue recognition of the work of the credit union sector within the community at large. The Credit Union’s main trade association ABCUL welcomes the schemes and is consulting with government and its member credit unions about their implementation.

http://www.abcul.org/home

Grant for Solent Credit Union

Solent Credit Union is delighted to announce that it has been awarded a Grant of £4,723 from the Unity Trust Bank Credit Union Development Fund (CUDF) to develop digital marketing and its website.

Further details are contained in our Press Release.

2018 AGM Minutes

The minutes of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) which was held on 28th June are now available along with other papers from the meeting.

 

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