We work to the four values and seven principles of the International Cooperative Alliance. Anyone living or working in Oxfordshire can join our credit union.
Our day-to-day management is overseen by our volunteer Board, which is elected at an Annual General Meeting. Board members serve for three-year terms. The roles and responsibilities of board members are defined and periodically updated. The board meets monthly. Each year we have an Annual General Meeting to which every member is invited. The AGM also sets the direction for our credit union and decides on matters such as level of dividend.
Our Chair is Mukesh Malhotra and the Treasurer is accountant Rob James. The Credit Union Company Secretary is Sue Tanner. You can find full details of all board members under the “People” section.
The board undertakes regular training sessions to ensure individually and collectively they understand their responsibilities.
We share our administration with five other credit unions through Credit Union Solutions (CUS). A workers’ cooperative CUS manage our office, answer telephones, update accounts, process transfers onto debit cards, manage applications from new members and decide on loans. They prepare our accounts and send off quarterly returns to the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority. You can find out more about them on their website.
Day-to-day lending decisions are made by CUS staff, following policies agreed by the OCU Board. The credit union board oversees CUS lending decisions, review arrears and agrees on recovery actions if loans are not repaid. The board also decides on larger loans or, in the case of appeals, against lending decisions.
The six credit unions that work with CUS try to agree on common standards and contracts with other organisations (e.g. IT systems). When we buy goods and services we also aim to support other cooperatives or ethical businesses. We meet informally quarterly, and for specific training events.
Our compliance officer (Graham Tomlin of CUS) advises the Board of changes to credit union rules which the board need to be aware of.
Until early 2016 we had a volunteer Supervisory Officer. As we have grown we have developed this area. We now share the cost of the internal audit of CUS systems with the five other credit unions in our group. Internal Audit is provided by Alexander Sloan, who currently undertake two reviews a year of key systems.
We also have our external auditor, the local accounting firm Appleby & Wood, who audit our accounts each year.
We are members of ABCUL – the main trade association for credit unions in the UK.