News

Aviva Community Fund Award update

A stylied iage of two hands holding up a heart-shaped picture of a town sceneVoting has closed and the finalists have been announced. Sadly, despite the amazing efforts of everyone that promoted and voted for our ”Inclusive Banking for Essex” project, we didn’t quite make it into the top eight of the Inclusivity category – which is where we needed to finish to go through to the final round. We did, however, make it into the top 15 – which, out of the 235 excellent projects in our category, is still quite an achievement.

Because it is so important to provide full online access to Essex Savers, we will continue with our efforts to secure the funding needed for this. Should you become aware of any other sources of funding that we might “tap in to”, please let us know.

Finally, as well as wishing all of the finalists good luck, a very big thank must go to everyone that supported our project.

Alison Davies
Managing Director

For the full results just click here.

Could you be an Essex Savers Director?

'Board of directors' written in pink chalk on a blackboard

We are currently looking to strengthen our board and are looking for individuals with skills and experience in the following areas: Lending; Money Laundering; Technology; Legal; Marketing; HR and Banking.

Lending

We operate in a different environment to many other lenders in that we are often asked to lend where mainstream providers have refused. A director with a credit background who can translate that to our customer base is highly sought after.

Money Laundering

With increased financial crime, often funding terrorism today, this is an increasingly important area for credit unions. Someone who has up to date experience in this field and can ensure that our directors staff and volunteers are up to date on their responsibilities and able to follow the procedures in place while keeping us up to date on the latest regulatory requirements would be ideal.

Technology

We operate our own IT infrastructure in house to run our banking systems - which are provided by a third party but hosted by us - and we are looking for someone familiar with managing IT systems.

Legal

As with all organisations, Essex Savers must enter in to contracts and commercial arrangements with third parties and has a range of legal responsibilities. An associate or partner of a law firm would be a most useful help with these matters.

Marketing

We’d like someone to take responsibility for our website, social media presence (on Twitter and Facebook) and to set up an emailing system (eg MailChimp) to help keep our members informed of what we can offer them.

HR

As an employer of a small team, a director with an HR background would be an asset in keeping us updated on employment law and reviewing contracts and terms for our staff while helping to shape our people strategy and our policies and procedures to support this.

Banking

Essex Savers is akin to a micro bank and individuals who have or are currently operating at a senior level within banking, who understand the regulations we operate within would be invaluable.

It is also important that our directors have excellent communication and interpersonal skills as well as good IT skills.

Duties

Aside from their dedicated area, each director will be expected to participate with the following:

  • Attending the monthly board meetings held at our Chelmsford HQ (we have onsite parking)
  • Setting strategic targets for the year and participating in the production and delivery of the annual business plan (Please contact us if you&rsqyild like to see a copy of our 2017-2021 plan).
  • Making decisions on rules, policies and procedures
  • Ensuring PRA and FCA compliance

Interested?

Suitable candidates will be invited to attend board meetings in an observer capacity before possible co-option by the existing board and election by members at the next annual general meeting. There are no set hours and we are grateful to our directors for their help. Ideally, we’d like new board directors who can dedicate around 5 – 10 hours a month to their role.

To find out more about the role and what it involves please call our Managing Director, Alison Davies, on 01245 496235 for an informal chat.

Beat the Christmas rush!

Wednesday, 6 December, is the last date that Christmas Loans applicants can be certain of a decision. To help us with this decision, please ensure you comply with all of the application requirements listed below.

Loan Application Requirements*

•  A fully completed Application Form

•  A fully completed Personal Budget Sheet

•  Proof of income/payslip

•  Latest bank statement(s)

When applying for a new loan, members who have always paid on time will benefit from reduced interest rates 2% lower than standard rates.

* Subject to receipt of all of the required documentation, a decision will normally be made within 48 hours.

Loan application forms and the Personal Budget sheet can be downloaded by clicking the links above. They can also be obtained from any Service Point.

Money saving tips for this Christmas and beyond

As a not-for-profit cooperative, we are always focussed on “looking after our members’ pennies & pounds.” So, even though Christmas is not far away now, we believe there is still time to save some money – as well as making the money you have work harder.

Below are some suggestions on how to make your money go further this festive season – helping to avoid or, at least, limit a Christmas overspend.

  • Work out what you can afford (your Christmas Budget) and stick to it.
  • Agree to a ban on unnecessary adult gifts (eg for friends, neighbours and work colleagues). Or, if you are not ready for this, at least agree to a limit of, say, £5 per gift.
  • Write some “January Sale” IOUs. If someone, say, just wants some “new clothes” for Christmas, buying in the sales will give them much more for the money.
  • Give the gift of time (eg offer to babysit, hold a Kids’ sleepover, help with a garden tidy up / some decorating, etc).
  • Buy some charity shop gifts (new ones, if you prefer). Save money and help a good cause.
  • Consider using cashback sites for any larger priced gifts.
  • Use up old loyalty scheme points / vouchers.
  • Use Skype to call overseas for free.
  • Instead of posting large numbers of Christmas cards, send your Christmas greetings by sharing a photo and personal message by email / social media.
  • If you need to borrow, ask about a loan from us before using a Rent-to-own, Doorstop or Payday lender. We will always be cheaper than they.

For even more ways to save your cash at Christmas click here.

A wooden toy tuck bearing presentsDon’t just employ these tips this year. By employing all / some of these tips next year and every year, just imagine how much money this could save you? What to do with the money saved? Well, if you have debts, use the money to help reduce them / clear them.

If you don’t have any debts, use the spare cash to start a Christmas savings account with us. Doing this straight after Christmas, and saving just £5 a week (£20 a month) would be worth £220 by next December. If you could manage £20 a week, you would have £880 - which would give you £60 more than YouGov estimates the average family will spend on Christmas this year.

If you do have debts, use the spare cash to help clear them. Just remember, once they are cleared, to start a Christmas savings account with us.

To make the process of saving easier and more convenient, why not use our Salary Savings Scheme? By completing one simple form, your savings could be paid to your Essex Savers account – straight from salary. Alternatively, you can set up a Standing Order. Both methods will ensure you save regularly – without the need to try to remember.

If the worst should happen / has already happened and you find your debts are more than you can handle, please don’t ignore them. Seek help straight away! Organisations like the Citizens Advice Bureau and Stepchange are very well placed to help you work out a solution. Part of that solution may be to consider paying off one of your high-cost debts with a, cheaper, member loan with us.

As soon as you get your finances under control – and to help prevent problems reoccurring in future – look to build up your savings again with Essex Savers.

Wishing you a happy, healthy and peaceful festive season

Alison Davies
Managing Director
Essex Savers net Credit Union Limited

International Credit Union Day - Dreams Thrive Here

Thursday, 19 October, is International Credit Union Day and, just like other credit unions around the world, Essex Savers will be celebrating ICU Day by reflecting on everyone that has played their part in making the credit union movement such a vital component in the lives of more than 235 million people in 109 countries worldwide.

Image showing ICU Day themeStarting on Monday, 9 October, at 11 am, BBC 1 will be showing a series of programmes about credit unions and responsible lenders across the country. This year’s theme, “Dreams Thrive Here” is a celebration of how credit unions act as catalysts to help make people’s personal choices and career hopes real. No matter how big or small a goal might be, credit unions will try their best to help their members to achieve them.

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives that provide an ethical alternative to the big banks - pooling their members’ savings to provide low-cost loans and other financial services in the best interest of the members, not to earn profits for corporate shareholders.

Recognised as a force for positive economic and social change, Credit unions are unique because they are not-for-profit, democratically controlled, member-owned cooperatives.

Credit unions play a vital role in the economic development and stability of the communities they serve, helping people improve their lives through access to affordable financial services

This International Credit Union Day, we hope everyone will join us in celebrating the credit union difference, our proud cooperative heritage and the wonderful opportunities credit unions and cooperatives offer members every day.

Increasingly, employers are recognising the value and benefits that Credit unions provide. One of these benefits is in helping their employees to save for the future. To support this, Essex Savers is delighted to be able to offer all Essex based businesses our Salary Savings Scheme – which gives employees a quick and easy way to save and make loan repayments straight from salary.

Finally, if you have a story to share about how Essex Savers has helped you to achieve your goal, we’d love to hear about it. Just click here to share your story.

Thank you for your continued membership and support.

Alison Davies
Managing Director
Essex Savers net Credit Union

A Matter of Life and Debt

BBC logoStarting on Monday, 9 October, at 11 am, BBC 1 will be showing a series of programmes about credit unions and responsible lenders across the country. As well as explaining more about the organisations involved, the programmes will be telling the stories of people whose lives have been transformed by an ethical loan.

With fifteen episodes in the series, which is being broadcast every weekday, it might be worth setting up a “series link”: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05hvzh9.

If watching these programmes persuades you to become an Essex Savers member, please get in touch.

Changes to Service Point opening times

A seaside town's promenade on a sunny dayWith effect from Friday, 1st September the Southend Hub, located within the Victoria Shopping Centre, will be closed between 12 noon and 1 pm each day. As a result, commencing on 6th September, our Service Point will be open from 10 am to 12 noon and from 1 pm to 4 pm each Wednesday.

With effect from Thursday, 7th September, our Shoeburyness Service Point (at 151 West Road) will be open from 1 pm to 3 pm every Thursday.

For details of all our Service Points click the button above.

You can now pay us by debit card

The bottom edges of debit cards fanned out over a keyboard 
We are delighted to confirm that you can now use your debit card to lodge funds to your savings account and repay loans.

To take advantage of this efficient way of managing your money, either call into our Chelmsford Head Office or simply phone us on 01245 496314; a member of staff there will be happy to process your payment for you.

As before, you can still make payments by deduction straight from salary, by Standing Order, by cheque or in cash.

Volunteers’ Week

A multi-coloured shooting star alongside the words Volunteers' WeekVolunteers’ Week gives us the opportunity to say a special thank you to all Essex Savers volunteers. Without your support and dedication, it wouldn’t be possible for us to do what we do. You are the heart, soul and public face of our credit union.

Although many of our members have already told us how much they value and appreciate the help they get from our volunteers, we would be delighted to hear from more of our members. If you would like to share details of an encounter with one of our volunteers - so that we can share these (anonymously) on our website - please email us.

As we are always looking to expand the service we provide, especially to the more rural parts of the county, more volunteers are always needed. So, if you are reading this and would like to know more about volunteering with us, please click on the link below.

Thank you
Alison Davies
Managing Director

New Service Point in Shoeburyness

Picture of a small Free Church building 
 
Calling all Shoeburyness residents: Our newest Service Point will be opening in Shoeburyness on Thursday, 13 April.

The Service Point, which is located in the HUB at 151 West Road, Shoeburyness, will be open between 11 am and 2 pm every Thursday.

So, if you are looking for an ethical alternative to the Big Banks, come along and see what we have to offer in savings, loans and banking facilities.
 

Changes at the top

Photograph of a lady with long white hair 
 
Steve Allen is our new Chairman. He comes from Hillingdon Credit Union and brings with him great experience of loans management. His skills and experience will be invaluable in managing our loans portfolio and our efforts to achieve sustainability. We look forward to working under his chairmanship. Alison Davies has stepped down as Chairman but remains managing director.

 
 

What are your New Year Resolutions?

A blackboard showing a list of New Year resolutions for 2017How many of these are on your list? For many of us the answer is, probably, at least three. For some of us it could be / should be all five.

As well as the clear health benefits, the more success you have with the first four resolutions, the more money you should have to contribute to the last one.

As you’ll see from the table below, saving regularly can quickly add up. And, as well as building up an important savings pot, you would also be eligible – based on your savings record with us – to apply for a fair interest loan with Essex Savers.

Amount1 year2 years3 years4 years5 years
£5 a week£260£520£780£1,040£1,300
£10 a week£520£1,040£1,560£2,080£2,600
£20 a week£1,040£2,080£3,120£4,160£5,200
£50 a week£2,600£5,200£7,800£10,400£13,000

Whilst the saying that “Christmas comes but once a year” is well known, it is also true that 25 December happens every year! So, to enable you to have a great next Christmas – without taking on unnecessary debt - why not start a Christmas Savings Account for 2017 and beyond today?