Savings Goals – Learn How To Pay Yourself First

Have you ever heard of the phrase “pay yourself first”?

It’s one of the oldest rules of personal financial management and will put you on a firm foundation when it comes to handling money.

Basically, it means that you put aside a portion of your income into a savings account before you start paying your bills or spending your earnings, rather than afterward.

Obviously, it’s important to keep on top of your bills, so make sure that it is a manageable amount.

Even if you put aside the smallest percentage of your pay packet it will eventually add up to a good sum and help pay for a holiday, a family birthday or even a new car.

We realise that many people find it difficult to consider paying themselves first when they’re faced with so many other financial obligations but even though it’s critical to pay your bills on time you should also set something aside for the future.

The best way to develop a saving habit is to make the process as painless as possible, such as setting up a direct debit straight to your savings account. By saving just £10 a week, you will have more than £500 within a year.

One of the simplest ways to pay yourself first is through a credit union payroll savings scheme which is offered to employees by our partner organisations. You can set the amount you want to save and it is taken from your salary and placed into a savings account before you even notice it’s gone.

Contact your local credit union and find out if you qualify for payroll deduction with your employer. Or come and visit us to discuss saving’s options to suit your pocket.

To find your local credit union visit: www.creditunionsofwales.co.uk/en/find-my-credit-union

 

How To Avoid Loan Sharks

Many people come up against financial problems from time to time.

These can include sudden repairs to your car, replacing an old cooker or receiving a credit card bill that seems impossible to pay off.

Without enough savings set aside it can be difficult to find money quickly. That’s why some of us consider a payday loan to be the answer.

When times are tough, we don’t always take the time to read the small print or weigh up the pros and cons, which can lead to bigger financial problems in the long run.

Credit Unions of Wales believe in affordable borrowing which is why we support the decision to restrict the excessive interest rates attached to some payday loans.

But the cap placed on the maximum amount of interest charged on a payday loan will reduce the number of legal lenders in that market.

What it doesn’t do is eradicate the genuine need for short term loans and this can lead desperate people to turn to unlicensed lenders – better known as loan sharks.

The amount of interest charged by loan sharks can be astronomical. The Wales Illegal Money Lending Unit launched a probe into one suspected loan shark who they believed to be lending cash at six million per cent interest.

Loan sharks can be difficult to catch, with fewer than 10 per cent of those reported ending up in court.

Remember that there is a far safer method of short-term borrowing that won’t leave you facing years of staggering debt.

Credit Unions of Wales are not-for-profit, community banks that focus on responsible lending. That means we speak to people face-to-face and work out what’s affordable for them.

With such a focus on personal attention we have low default rates, which helps us keep interest rates lower.

So, don’t fall into the malevolent jaws of loan sharks, your local credit union can help you swim in much calmer waters.

To find your local credit union visit: www.creditunionsofwales.co.uk/en/find-my-credit-union

 

How To Pay For Home Improvements

Are you looking to spruce up your home? Need to replace those cracked wooden framed windows, re-tile that 1970s style bathroom or create a new extension for the family?

Although improvements to your property can be a good investment and help increase the value of your home, make sure you shop around to get the best price for the job.

It’s always important to obtain several different quotes which will give you a better idea of a realistic budget before you commit yourself.

Ideally you have already saved enough money to pay for your home improvements, but if not then there are still plenty of ways to get a good deal to suite your pocket.

Here are some of the options available:

Take out a loan: When considering a loan it’s important to compare the various loan providers to ensure you get the best deal. Remember that the “representative APR” figure you see advertised may only apply to 51 percent of people who actually take out the loan.

So if you’re in the other 49 percent your interest rates could be substantially higher than you bargained for. Shop around with other providers if you’re told that “due to your personal circumstances” the rate you’re offered is different from the one advertised. That’s why it’s worth remembering that credit unions offer the actual APR they advertise. So what you see is what you get.

Interest free credit: It you take advantage of an interest free credit deal make sure you pay it off within the period. If you fail to pay off the balance in time you may face higher interest rates.

Credit cards: Some credit cards offer a zero percent offer on purchases which is great news. But just like interest free credit, the key is to manage your repayments so you pay off your balance in time.

Another advantage of credit cards if that they provide you with a certain level of protection if your refurbishment work turns out to be faulty or the company goes bust. With a credit card you may be able to claim the money back. If you have the cash to cover your refurbishment, then it may be worth considering paying the deposit with a credit card to access this protection.

Adding the cost to your mortgage: You could pay for your home improvement by adding the cost to your mortgage. That means paying off the debt over a very long period and results in lower monthly repayments. Remember to check whether the rate is fixed or variable because they could rise before the balance is repaid.

And finally, know your numbers: It’s important to always look at the interest rate, time period and cost of repayments. Most loan companies will have repayment calculators on their websites and using them could save you a great deal of money.

To find out more about your local credit union visit www.creditunionsofwales.co.uk

 

Five Tips To Keep Your Spending Under Control

If you’re looking to put yourself on a financial diet this New Year, you’re not alone. Credit Unions of Wales the length and breadth of the country are tightening their belts, so we’ve together a few tips to help you keep your spending under control:

  • Do you really need it? Before you commit to buying something, ask yourselves whether you need it or simply want it. Don’t fall victim to a spending whim.
  • Set yourself a budget and stick to it. Why not shop around for items or check some price-comparison websites before committing yourself to a purchase? You may want to consider withdrawing a set amount of money from your bank or credit union every week to help control your spending and avoid depending on the credit or debit card when you shop.
  • Are you in debt? Prioritise which debt to pay off first depending on the highest interest rate. Remember that before you borrow any money in the future, compare different interest rates and work out how much you’ll be paying back in the long run. You can do this by using the loan calculators usually found on the lenders’ websites (including members of Credit Unions of Wales). The difference between using a payday lender and your local credit union can be absolutely staggering.
  • Give your house a good spring clean whatever the time of year. Try and sell unwanted items at your local boot sale or through an online sales or auction site
  • Pay yourself first. This is a simple trick to ensure solid financial stability. All you have to do is put something away into a savings account every month before you pay your bills or go out for a night on the tiles. If your employer is a partner organisation with a credit union then you can have a set amount taken from your wage packet every month. It’s surprising how quickly this will mount up. For example, saving the price of a supermarket lunchtime, meal deal of £3 per day comes to £1,095 over a year.

Ready to start saving? Find your local credit union here: http://www.creditunionsofwales.co.uk/en/find-my-credit-union/

 

What Is A Representative APR Interest Rate?

When considering taking out a loan or a credit card you will probably come up against the term ‘representative APR’, but what exactly does it mean?

Basically, it means that the rate of interest paid on some forms of borrowing, like a personal loan or a credit card, depends on a person’s individual credit score and previous repayment history.

This sort of personal data is compiled by credit reference agencies such as Equifax, CallCredit and Experian. Many high street banks will use information from these agencies to better understand a person’s repayment history, their lifestyle and also any outstanding debts they may have.

All of the information gathered from a credit reference agency helps the lender build a picture of a potential borrower. It also creates an automated risk profile which determines not only if a person gets the credit they applied for but the rate of interest the lender will charge.

However, many people don’t realise that the figure you see advertised as a ‘representative APR’ is not necessarily the rate you will get.

Lenders are required to quote an Annual Percentage Rate (APR) in their advertising. However, legally, a representative APR need only be given to 51 per cent of accepted customers.

That means almost half of consumers who apply for a loan or credit card may end up paying more interest that the representative APR advertised.

In contrast, Credit Unions of Wales quote actual rates which means that all successful applicants will get the same rate.

Credit unions also decide whether to make a loan based on the individual circumstances of a potential borrower, rather than relying solely on an automated credit check.

So, whatever you do, shop around before signing up for a loan or credit card and find the best interest rate to suit your pocket.

To find your local credit union visit: www.creditunionsofwales.co.uk/en/find-my-credit-union

 

Why Save With A Credit Union?

Whether you’re saving for an important occasion or just a ‘rainy day’, regularly putting money away with a Credit Union is an excellent way to reach your goal.

Once you start saving you’re not just a customer, you’re a member of a successful financial co-operative and have a say on how its run.

Savings accounts can be very flexible and allow members to save small or large amounts every week, month or whenever they can.

Small, regular amounts quickly build up and help you towards booking holiday, buying a car or maybe for Christmas?

Your savings are safe and secure, earning a good dividend and helping the community because it is being used to make loans for other members

Credit unions usually offer a dividend rate rather than an interest rate If the credit union declares a dividend at the end of the financial year (after all running costs are met), each share you hold for that year is eligible for a dividend.

There are no transaction charges and savings are insured at no direct cost to eligible members.

If you intend to borrow in the future, your savings will be taken into account.

Remember that when you are in the habit of saving regularly, you will find paying back a loan far easier.

 

What’s The Difference Between A Credit Union And A Bank?

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives that serve the needs of their members.

They offer similar banking products and services to those you would find at other financial institutions.

At credit unions, each member, or depositor is also an owner. But in the bank, depositors (or customers) have no ownership rights. Banks are owned by investors.

Each credit union member has one vote in electing board members. Members can also run for election to the board.

Banks are owned and controlled by stockholders, whose number of votes depend upon number of shares owned. Customers don’t have voting rights, cannot be elected to the board, and have no say in how the bank is operated.

Credit unions’ boards comprise volunteers whereas banks’ board members are paid.

Another major difference between the two is that credit unions are local and are organised to serve the interests of its membership but banks are open to the general public.

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives, whose earnings are paid back to members in the form of higher savings rates and lower loan rates. Banks are for-profit corporations, with declared earnings paid to stockholders.

The credit unions focus on consumer loans and savings, as well as services needed by the membership. In comparison banks focus on commercial loans and accounts and services that generate significant income.

Finally credit unions cooperate with other credit unions and share resources but competition prohibits banks from doing this.

All UK-regulated current or savings accounts and cash ISAs in banks, building societies and credit unions are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

 

What is a Credit Union?

Credit unions are not-for-profit, community-based cooperatives, offering savings, low-cost loans and a range of affordable financial products services.

Many offer a wide choice of additional products such as junior savings accounts, Christmas savings accounts, prepaid debit cards, insurance products and in some cases even mortgages.

The diversity of the services available from credit unions means they attract customers from all walks of life with a wide variety of financial needs.

Every credit union is owned and democratically controlled by its members whose assets are pooled to help provide its many services.

That means the emphasis is always on providing the best service to members – putting them ahead of profits that would otherwise go to shareholders or investors in other high street financial institutions.

Each member has one vote and volunteer directors are elected from the membership, by the membership.

Membership of a credit union is based on a common bond. This can be working for a particular employer or in a particular industry, or simply living or working in a specified area which can be as small as a village or as large as a local authority.

Credit Unions encourage members to save, as well as borrow. They offer loans at fair and reasonable interest rates, taking into account what people can afford to repay.

They provide even the most financially disadvantaged the opportunities to be financially self-sufficient.

They also train and empower members to use money wisely and make informed choices about their financial future.

 

Is My Money Safe With a Credit Union?

Just like a bank or building society, Credit Unions are regulated to ensure your money is looked after.

As community organisations, Credit Unions of Wales are focussed on responsible lending.

We are strictly regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulatory Authority and are members of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)

In compliance with The Credit Unions Act 1979, credit unions must have their accounts audited annually and that they must be insured against fraud or theft.

The performance of each credit union is monitored by the Financial Conduct Authority and senior staff and volunteers involved in the running of the Credit Union must be approved by them.

If the worst happened and a credit union went bust, then your cash would be protected as it would in a bank.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme can pay compensation of up to £85,000 to members if a credit union went into liquidation and unable to meet its financial obligations.

For joint accounts each account holder is treated as having a claim, which means they can claim £170,000 together.

 

What Is A Common Bond?

One of the requirements of a credit unions is that members have something in common with one another.

This is known as a “Common Bond” and is defined by the credit union when deciding who is eligible to join.

Credit unions are run democratically and in the interests of those people who use their services and fall within the remit of their common bond.

This helps to reflect the fact that credit unions are organisations run for the benefit of its members with a social connection.

Membership of a credit union can be governed in several ways.

It can offer membership to individuals who follow a particular occupation or who are employed by a particular company or organisation.

Membership can also be restricted to people living or working in a certain area and this can vary from a small village to a large local authority.

Some credit unions also allow membership to individuals who live in the same household as a member and fall within one of the categories of the common bond.

It is the responsibility of the credit union to produce a membership rule that meets their requirements which is why the common bond is an essential part of the legislation governing the financial cooperative.

 

Dragonsavers scoops prestigious awards

Congratulations are due to a South Wales credit union after they scooped two prestigious titles in a UK-wide award ceremony.

Dragonsavers in the Rhondda Valley won the Edward Filene Credit Union and the Joe Biden Development Educator Awards.

The news comes only a matter of months after they received the International Credit Union Leadership Development and Education Foundation’s Beacon Award.

Head Office Supervisor Christine Bates, who joined her local credit union as a volunteer 20 years ago, received the Edward Filene Award for Performance excellence in Customer Service.

This is an award which recognises the attitude and knowledge that she brings to her role and how she inspires others to be the best they can.

Following the glittering ceremony at Radisson Blu in Bloomsbury, London, she said: “I was absolutely overjoyed and utterly shocked to see my name on the screen and cannot thank everyone enough for nominated me and their kind testimonials.

“At Dragonsavers we continually strive to deliver the best possible service as an organisation and make a genuine change to the financial security of our members which ultimately has a positive impact on their lives.”

Dragonsavers President Ian Gylee received the Edward Filene Awards for Performance Excellence ‘Single Benefactor’ award which recognised his work in demonstrating how credit unions can be a viable alternative to high street banks in Great Britain and Ireland.

After joining the credit union movement in 1996 he later joined the board of directors for Dragonsavers before accepting the position of president.

He said: “Credit unions play an incredibly important role in people’s lives and we want to spread the message far wider to encourage more members to sign up and benefit from the range of financial products we have to offer.

“These include junior savings accounts, Christmas savings accounts, prepaid debit cards, insurance products and many more.”

Last, but not least, General Manager Christina Stoneman was named the winner of Joe Biden Awards for Development Educators from around the world, acknowledging the ongoing contribution she has made.

Well done all!

For further details about Dragonsavers go to www.dragonsavers.org.

 

Cardiff man who has helped 200 orphans recognised in awards

A Cardiff Council worker who has personally funded the education and shelter of almost 200 orphans in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has been recognised as part of an international awareness day.

Kalamba Donatien Kazadi who moved to the UK 20 years ago, converted his home in the DR Congo into an orphanage after he and his care worker wife Marie saw first hand the plight of children in the country.

Mr Kazadi took a loan of £17,000 with Cardiff and Vale Credit Union to finish building the orphanage, which is home to around 30 children at any one time.

His work was recognised at a special Credit Unions of Wales Awards ceremony in the Senedd, Cardiff Bay, on October 19 to mark International Credit Union Day.

Mr Kazadi explained: “We were building a house as somewhere to stay when we visited family and friends, but there are so many orphans that we had to do something to help and so we turned it into their home.”

It’s estimated that around six million people have been killed in the DR Congo since 1996, in wars that have left many children without adults to look after them.

“So many boys become soldiers and girls are prey to the sex trade, it is devastating to see and we knew we had to do something,” Mr Kazadi said.

The father of four, who works with the homeless and refugees in Cardiff, says he could never have got the loan from a mainstream bank. Having repaid the £17,000, Mr Kazadi has since borrowed £6,000 to buy a truck for the orphanage, he also donates clothes and pays to educate the children in his and Marie’s care.

Leanne Herberg, Chief Executive  of Cardiff and Vale Credit Union who nominated Mr Kazadi for the award said: “The theme of International Credit Union Day is ‘Dreams thrive here’ and it is hard to imagine a couple who sum this up more than Mr and Mrs Kazadi.

“They have personally helped set 195 children on the path to building their own dreams, and are truly an inspiration. We are proud that we have been able to help ”

Mr Kazadi was one of six recipients of a Credit Unions of Wales Award on October 19. The awards celebrated the extraordinary credit union partnerships, volunteers and members across the country.

Guest speaker, Leader of the House Jane Hutt AM opened the ceremony while Welsh actress Ruth Madoc presented the awards.

Patron of Credit Unions of Wales, Michael Sheen OBE, who is currently filming, send a video message urging people to join their local credit union.

 

Tredegar pub manager wins savings award

A pub manager from Tredegar has won a prestigious award for encouraging her staff to become “super-savers”.

Stacey Irish of The Mountain Air Inn in Nantybwch received the “Workplace Community Champion” award from Welsh actress Ruth Madoc at the Credit Unions of Wales Awards in the Senedd.

The 37-year-old was nominated by Smart Money Cymru Credit Union in Caerphilly after introducing her staff to a simple way of automatically transferring a percentage of their wages into a savings account every week.

Stacey joined her mother and father Steve and Thelma who are landlord and landlady of The Mountain Air five years ago and now almost all of the staff are regular credit union savers.

She said: “I was absolutely overjoyed to hear the news that we’d won the Credit Union of Wales Award.

“I first began saving with Smart Money Cymru because of its dedication to the local community. I also liked the idea of the “Invisible Saver Scheme” where I can save money straight from my pay into an account without even touching it.

“That means you can save for holidays, Christmas or a birthday without missing the money because you haven’t noticed it’s gone.

“It’s also very useful for when things suddenly crop up and you have funds to support you. It’s nice to just log into your account and see how much you’ve saved.”

She explained that one of her barmaids saved regularly with the credit union to pay for her wedding earlier this year.

Another four members of staff are in the process of signing up to the payroll scheme while Stacey is introducing her 10-year-old daughter to a savings account.

“We decided to open an account for Nicole with my parents and I regularly saving on her behalf”, said 37-year-old Stacey. “It’s important she learns the importance of saving from an early age.”

Stacey was one of six award winners at the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff Bay which also welcomed special guest presenter Ruth Madoc and Leader of the House Jane Hutt AM. A video message was shown from Patron of the Credit Unions of Wales Michael Sheen OBE.

Finance Officer of Smart Money Cymru Kay Chapman said: “Stacey and her father Steve have developed a good working relationship with Smart Money Cymru Credit Union and always contact us if they need details of the products we offer or to arrange visits to sign up new staff.

“We then visit The Mountain Air Inn with all the appropriate documentation and promotional leaflets to sign the new staff up and answer any questions that they may have.

“They are very deserving of the award and we congratulate them on their dedication to the credit union.”

Pictured are:  Linda Jones & Andrina Davies the General Manager of Smart Money Cymru with Thelma and Stacey Irish from The Mountain Air as they received their award from Ruth Madoc.

 

Denbighshire Council Wins National Credit Union Title

Denbighshire County Council has received a national award for its work to help improve the financial health of its staff and tenants.

The Credit Unions of Wales Award was in recognition of the local authority’s commitment to developing the social welfare of its staff by encouraging them to join a credit union payroll savings scheme,

The council was nominated for the Payroll Partner (Public Sector) by Cambrian Credit Union and received the award from Welsh actress Ruth Madoc at a spacial ceremony in the Senedd.

During the past two years the council has encouraged 310 employees to join the payroll scheme where an agreed amount of their salary is paid automatically into a savings’ account with Cambrian Credit Union.

Councillor Mark Young, Cabinet Lead Member with responsibility for Human Resources, said: “We are delighted to be honoured with this award.

“The council takes its responsibilities towards its staff and its tenants extremely seriously and it is vitally important that, as a responsible employer, we promote schemes of this nature. The scheme has had a high profile presence across our sites and there is a firm commitment to continue promoting the scheme”.

Denbighshire County Council was one of six award winners at the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff Bay, which also welcomed guest speaker Jane Hutt AM, Minister of Finance and Speaker of the House. A video message was shown from Patron of the Credit Unions of Wales Michael Sheen OBE.

Ann Francis of Cambrian Credit Union said: “Denbighshire County Council regularly sends out emails encouraging staff to join the Payroll Savings Scheme. They have information on their staff intranet, and hold regular meetings with us to ensure a continued presence across the workplace.

“The council cares about the financial responsibility of tenants as well as staff, and we work with the housing department to ensure tenants receive credit union literature in rent statements and other information.”

Pictured are  Sandy Williams and Ann Francis of Cambrian Credit Union with Sophie Vaughan from Denbighshire County Council as she receives an award from actress Ruth Madoc.

 

Newport volunteer wins national award

Volunteer Reg Smith from Newport has received a prestigious title in the first Credit Union of Wales Awards.

The 62-year-old retired civil servant was judged Volunteer of the Year following a nomination by Newport Credit Union.

During the past seven years he’s been treasurer and chairman of the credit union as well as helping to move the entire organisation to larger premises in the city.

Reg, who lives with his wife in Farmwood Close, joined the credit union as a volunteer in 2010 after he was made redundant from the debt department of the Inland Revenue.

He said: “I decided that although I was just 55 it was time to retire, but I felt I still had a lot to give and if I couldn’t find work then at least I could fill my time by volunteering.

“You could say I went from a full time job to become a full time volunteer, but I thoroughly enjoy my role in Newport Credit Union and am absolutely overjoyed to have been nominated for the award.

“A lot of very dedicated people volunteer for credit unions across Wales and I’m honoured to have been considered as a recipient of the award.”

As a former trade union representative Reg developed skills in how to improve the working lives of fellow staff and helping individuals at times of need – skills which were pivotal in the development of his local credit union.

Reg not only looks after the purse strings at Newport Credit Union but is also the treasurer of the Newport Table Tennis League and the Gwent Association of Table Tennis.

Reg was one of six award winners at the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff Bay which also welcomed Welsh actress Ruth Madoc and guest speaker Jane Hutt AM.  A video message was shown from Patron of the Credit Unions of Wales Michael Sheen OBE.

Tanya Martin of Newport Credit Union said: “Reg initially starting volunteering for us on our front desk. Within a couple of months, he was appointed as treasurer on the board, where he helped to expand the credit union, implementing a new and improved database and expansion of products and members.

“He continues to volunteer his time at least three days a week in the main office, helping in whatever capacity is required, whether from creating graphs and reports, to dealing with queries and questions, to making the tea and hoovering the floors!

“Without him, I don’t believe the credit union would have grown as much as it has.”

Pictured are Reg Smith (second from right) receives his award from Ruth Madoc (far right) joined by Ben West (far left) and Ann Smith from Newport Credit Union.

 

Bridgend schoolchildren named super savers of the year

Schoolchildren in Bridgend are celebrating their success after winning a prestigious award from the Credit Unions of Wales.

Pupils of St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Llangewydd Road visited the Senedd to receive the top prize from Welsh actress Ruth Madoc.

They were nominated for the School Partnership Award by Bridgend Lifesavers Credit Union after running a successful junior savings scheme for pupils over the last three years.

In total 140 children are members of the scheme – more than half of the school – and save their pocket money weekly.

Run by the children themselves, the scheme also helps improve their numeracy, literacy and social skills.

Teacher Ben Wooding explained: “Pupils and staff are absolutely overjoyed to have won the Credit Unions of Wales Award because not only do we derive a great deal of pleasure from running a junior savings scheme but it also helps with the development and education of the children themselves.

“The Credit Union plays an important part in contributing to our ethos as a Catholic school.

“The weekly collection point is operated by a group of Year 5 and 6 pupils who spend every Wednesday morning running the scheme before bringing their findings into the maths lesson.

“That means we not only provide a saving club for the pupils but also use that as part of the curriculum. It is particularly important in today’s age to give children the hands-on experience of handling money, as most of us rely on contactless cards.

“The pupils save their pocket money for many different reasons, either to buy a new DVD or an X-Box Game. Sometimes their parents send money with them to save towards a school trip – such as the visit to France next summer.”

St Mary RC School was one of six award winners at the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff Bay which also welcomed guest speaker Jane Hutt AM, Minister of Finance and Speaker of the House. A video message was shown from Patron of the Credit Unions of Wales Michael Sheen OBE.

Nicola Field of Bridgend Lifesavers Credit Union said: “The pupils benefit from not only being able to save each week but also from the financial education that comes with running the weekly collection.

“The school also incorporates this into their wider curriculum and use this as an opportunity to learn about credit unions and the importance of saving and have also used data from the collections in a number of math-based lessons.

“Not only are they improving their numeracy and literacy skills but are also improving their social skills.”

* Pictured are Damian Faulkner (Bridgend Lifesavers Credit Union) and Ben Wooding (Teacher, St Mary’s RC School) with pupils receiving their award from Nicola Field (Bridgend Lifesavers Credit Union) and actress Ruth Madoc.

 

Tredegar Pub Celebrated For Promoting Credit Union Partnership

Dedicated staff at a Tredegar pub were nominated for a Workplace Community Champion Award in the inaugural Credit Unions of Wales Awards for promoting the various financial services on offer to their employees.

Stephen and Stacey Irish are the landlord and landlady of The Mountain Air Inn in Tredegar. They are passionate about Smart Money Cymru Credit Union and the importance of saving regularly so Stacey actively encourages all staff to take up  the innovative payroll deduction scheme.

They have achieved a 75% take up of the work force using this ‘Invisible Saver’ service. It is a small workforce and they use word of mouth to raise awareness of the benefits of payroll deduction. They are on a weekly payroll so their staff save with us every week and have been saving since 2015.

They have developed a good working relationship with Smart Money Cymru Credit Union and always contact us if they need details of the products we offer or to arrange visits to sign up new staff. Smart Money Cymru Credit Union then visits The Mountain Air Inn with all the appropriate documentation and promotional leaflets to sign the new staff up and answer any questions that they may have.

 

Posthumous Award Nomination For Credit Union Champion

In 2013 Innovate Trust became a payroll scheme partner with Cardiff & Vale Credit Union to facilitate employees to better manage their finances.

As Diane Rees was already an active member with us at the time of the launch, she pro-actively became a workplace champion, ensuring internal publicity including intranet promotion, emails and leaflet distribution provided to employees.

As the partnership developed, Diane wanted to highlight the scheme’s success to her Board of Directors by setting and achieving personal targets to increase the value of collective monthly savings from Innovate Trust, helping to create a savings culture.

This proved very successful, with active members increasing from 17 to 72 in three years, and annual savings from Innovate Trust increasing annually, reaching £64,553 in the last year.

Other examples of her innovation and drive included:

  • an inspirational presentation to over 30 delegates at our credit union payroll conference in 2016, highlighting the approach and achievements of Innovate Trust as an example of best practice amongst payroll partners.
  • Personally supporting employees individually to help them start saving through their salary
  • Giving advice and feedback to potential new employers who were looking for feedback from our existing partners

Sadly Diane passed away earlier this year – with her passing, Cardiff & Vale Credit Unions have lost one of the strongest, most proactive and passionate payroll advocates in their history, leading the way by setting personal goals for the benefit of her work colleagues. She leaves a successful legacy in her workplace, and is much missed by the credit union.

Diane was remembered at the inaugural Credit Unions of Wales Awards 2017.

 

Bargoed School Thanked For Credit Union Partnership

Smart Money Cymru Credit Union Ltd has been in partnership with St Gwladys Primary school since 2011 and recently nominated them for a Credit Unions of Wales School Partnership Award.

During the past six years there have been over 100 children using the school service point to save any money such as pocket money, birthday money or any spare cash. There have also been a number of teachers who have saved on a regular basis for special occasions. One of the teachers at the school oversees the running of the service point run by the school children providing support where needed.

The school service point runs at 8.45am on Wednesday mornings and is run by 4 of the Year 6 children who collect the money, fill out receipts of payment via the individual passbooks and then totaling up the amount at the end of the designated time. They set up a table just inside the school doors to encourage the children and teachers as they walk into the school.

At present Smart Money Cymru has 20 school children and 10 school employees saving on a regular basis at the school. The pupils save for special occasions such as holidays and a special purchase like video games. The children have also encouraged a few parents to join the Credit Union to save for special events and even apply for one of our low cost loans.

Members of staff attend the service point from time to time and it’s great to see the children learning about the importance of handling money at such a young age.

The pupils are well aware of data protection and are comfortable with handling large amounts of money.

 

Newport Credit Union Volunteer Rose Shortlisted For Award

Susan “Rose” Bevan was nominated for a Volunteer Award in the first Credit Unions of Wales Awards by Newport Credit Union.

Rose is always willing to lend a hand to anything we ask her to do, whether from cleaning the office to talking to customers. She helped set up a collection point in one of the local churches, organising volunteers to run it, promoting what is a credit union and what services we provide.

She believes in the credit union and wants to promote it in any way she can as she thinks that they provide a beneficial service to her community.

Rose has a beautiful character, and a soothing manner, providing a welcoming face in what can sometimes be a cold world.

She also encouraged her grandson to volunteer , providing Saturday support as part of his Duke of Edinburgh scheme. She is an active member of her credit union, and as such knows the different products we can offer, as she utilizes some of them herself.

Rose volunteers her time three times a week, rain or shine. Without volunteers such as Rose the credit union would not be where it is today.