Frequently asked questions about Essex Savers

What is a credit union?

We are a savings and loans co-operative. We aim to help our members save up money, but we also provide loans at affordable rates. After we meet our essential running costs our profits are given back to the membership through a dividend payment. As a co-operative all our members are shareholders and so the benefits from successful growth of a credit union are more widely distributed than in traditional financial institutions: whilst some banks might invest less ethically across the world; we invest in our local community.A smiling man

Is my money safe?

We are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Your savings are 100% guaranteed by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (up to £85,000; see link on left).

How much interest do you pay on savings?

You receive a share in any of the organisation’s profits, rather than receive a fixed rate of interest, although this is paid as a percentage of your savings. Initially, the return you will receive may be zero or less than the rates paid by the bank, but once the credit union makes a surplus, you will receive a dividend. Our members also have a choice to invest any profits back into the business.

Do I have to give notice to withdraw money?

The credit union account is a no-notice savings account, but we need time to process any share withdrawal request. After you have filled in and signed a share withdrawal form, we need to check to ensure you have enough money in your account and then draw up a cheque or pay through BACS. We aim to get this done in one working day, but you should allow two working days. You must bring identification with you to receive a cheque.

Can I withdraw cash from the Credit Union?

For security reasons we issue cheques only, except at our main office. Cheques can be paid to you, a third party or for cash. Cheques payable for cash can be up to £500 in value and be cashed at a local post office. We can also do direct credit transfers to your bank account.

How do I pay into the credit union?

In cash, by cheque, standing order or bank transfer. If your employer is willing or already has an arrangement with us, you can also save directly from your pay packet. You can also have your salary, wages, pension or welfare benefits paid directly into your Essex Savers account.A smiling Muslim woman wearing glasses

What is a member's share account?

All Essex Savers members have a member's share account: an individual's share account, corporate share account or junior share account (if under 16 years old). Your member's share account gives your eligibility for a loan. Other savings accounts are available, eg Holiday Saver, Christmas Saver and Special Saver. You can also save your rent in a Rent Direct Account. Click here for more details.

Do you give debt advice?

We help with personal budgeting for those applying for loans but refer members to other agencies for debt advice, eg Citizens Advice Bureaux, Consumer Credit Counselling Service, Money Advice Service.

How do I get more involved?

We are always looking for members with the right skills to volunteer in their locality at our service points, overseeing a branch (several service points) and marketing in the area. All members are eligible to stand for election to our Board of Directors. Click "Volunteering" above or ask at the office for more information.