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Apply now and you may have a chance to win one of three exciting cash prizes!

Interest starts at 1% per month and you only pay interest on the outstanding balance! You can even pay your loan off earlier at no extra cost.

*Terms and conditions apply.
Lending is subject to status. This promotion is valid until 31st August (incl). Members must apply and be approved a loan of at least £500 to be eligible. Three winners will be selected randomly on 5th September and will be notified by email. The prizes of £100, £75 & £50 will be paid on the same day (5th September) into members’ bank accounts and will take 3-5 working days to clear.

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OCU and Unison City, Oxford

OCU was delighted to be invited to the Oxford City Branch of Unison’s AGM at Oxford Town Hall, recently.  You can see two members of the OCU team in the picture below, listening carefully to proceedings! One of our board members, Mark, gave a short presentation about what OCU offers.  Then, during the breaks, we chatted to Unison members, who gave us a warm welcome.

OCU works closely with Unison at Oxford City branch, as Oxford City Council staff can sign up for payroll deduction to their OCU accounts, something Unison helps to promote to their members. There are more details about the Oxford City branch of Unison here: www.oxfordcityunison.com

 

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OCU at the John Radcliffe Hospital

OCU were at the John Radcliffe Hospital on 15th March, to raise awareness of the OCU in particular, and credit unions generally, with JRH staff and members of the public, and we had a lot of good conversations.  Anyone employed by the Oxford University Hospitals Trust can sign up via payroll deduction, making both saving and repaying loans really easy.   The option of paying in by standing order is of course also open to all those who meet our common bond criteria of living or working in Oxfordshire.

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AGM set for Saturday 22nd April 2017

Members will shortly receive their official Calling Notice for the Annual General Meeting and the Board of OCU will be inviting all members to join us at the Friends’ Meeting House in St Giles in Oxford on Saturday, April 22nd at 11.30.  This is a welcome opportunity for all of us to meet in the flesh, for the Board to report back to members, and for members to give their views or ask questions.  This year the Board will be recommending that a dividend be paid to members and this will require the approval of members present.

We also look forward to welcoming Steve Eyre, chair of Swan Credit Union, who will give us an overview of how this neighbouring credit union – also part of the CUS ‘family’ – operate and how we can learn from each other.

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Where do your savings go?

Triodos Bank recently carried out a customer survey, asking people if they knew where their money was going. Whilst 41% did know where their money was going almost 60% didn’t.

Not all banks are the same. Some banks (Triodos Bank and Cooperative Bank are two examples) adopt specific ethical and environmental policies, others have weaker or non-existent policies. We use the Cooperative bank for some of our processes.

Oxfordshire Credit Union has a simple and ethical model. We use your deposits to lend to other members. The money goes around in a virtuous circle. Moreover by offering lower cost loans, we provide a genuine alternative to high cost lenders.

We are also a cooperative. Our administration is undertaken by a workers’ cooperative; Credit Union Solutions. So when you speak to one of our staff you are talking to a cooperative ethical business.

This year we changed our telephone provider to Phone Cooperative – a leading ethical business, who invest half their profits into other cooperatives and social enterprises. They are even based in Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire!

So when you save and borrow from us your money directly supports other members, and indirectly benefits a wider cooperative community.

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Ping Trees

An odd name – and many of us will never have heard of it, but its big business, and if you have ever applied for a payday loan it probably has affected you.

If you apply for a payday loan on-line you have to fill in your personal details into the website.

But many of the websites aren’t actually lenders themselves, but brokers. They sell your information, to the actual payday lenders. The bidders are payday lenders who pay as much as £75 for your information. They then offer you the loan. If those first line of lenders don’t buy your information, its passed down the tree to other lenders.

As the “Guardian” in the article below explains, nearly half of the payday loans come through ping trees. Its the opposite of a normal fee you pay to a broker, where the broker tries to get you the best deal. Indeed you are likely to be directed to the worst deal, and of course the payday lender has to recover the cost of the ping-tree commission, so in the end its added into the cost of the loan.

Its this sort of business model that led us to create the Oxfordshire Credit Union. By giving members a way of saving, and ensuring those savings are then lent onto other members who need to borrow, we help our members steer clear of these sorts of businesses.

https://www.theguardian.com/money/blog/2014/nov/01/payday-loans-ping-tree-lending-broker

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Payday market ‘unrecognisable’ but still a ‘trail of misery’

The Guardian newspaper today reports on the new regulatory system which has limited the worst excesses of the short-term lending market in the UK since the summer of 2014.  Following high profile condemnation by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2013 and some intensive campaigning by Citizens Advice and many others, new regulations have forced 14,000 lenders out of business and led to heavy losses by some of the big names.

The Consumer Finance Association claims that things are now very different from a few years ago, but the article quotes many examples of a continuing ‘trail of misery’.  Complaints to the Financial Ombudsman have doubled since last year and there are still high cost alternatives such as ‘log-book loans’ and doorstep lending (often by illegal ‘loan sharks’).

Carl Packman, an industry expert at Toynbee Hall, says some people have just stopped borrowing and gone into deeper arrears on rent and utility bills instead.  This is not a case of the rise and fall of payday lenders, he says: ‘It’s the rise, a hiccup, and probably another rise to come.’

There is still much for the credit union movement to do in encouraging efficient money management and affordable borrowing before crisis point is reached.

 

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OCU has a new Chair

The Directors of OCU have elected a new chair to follow Mark Luntley’s standing down after many successful years in the role.  David Soward has had responsibility for marketing and has been Vice Chair for the last year.  He now steps into Mark’s shoes while Mark takes over the lead role in marketing.

After a very good year of growth and consolidation culminating in a lively and productive AGM in April 2016 the Board look forward to an increased emphasis on expansion and an ever-higher profile in Oxfordshire.  We anticipate welcoming two new Board members in the near future who will strengthen and broaden our team.

 

 

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