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What is a credit union?

A credit union is a “friendly society” which is more commonly known as a co-operative. Credit unions are not-for-profit organisations which are set up by members that have something in common to benefit their community.

Credit Unions have a proven track record

In the UK, credit unions have been in existence for more than 50 years. They have continued to grow to provide loans and savings to over one million people across the England, Scotland and Wales. Currently, there are about three hundred credit unions in the UK. In fact, globally, there are 217 credit union members in 105 different countries. This shows that credit unions are highly reputable (findyourcredit.co.uk, 2020).

Your money is safe

All credit unions are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
All money saved in a credit union is protected up to the value of £85,000 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Therefore, you can be reassured that your money is safe.

Who are credit unions for?

Credit unions are for everyone where they provide a financial community. Credit union members are required to save regularly and after which they are able to borrow loans from the pool of savings.

In terms of management, credit unions have a Board of Directors who offer their services and advice on a voluntary basis. They are elected at an Annual General Meeting by members of that credit union.

To become a member of a credit union, you need to share a ‘common bond’ with other members. This could either be through working or living in the same areas.

For Oxfordshire Credit Union, our common bond is the county of Oxfordshire.

Join us today.

References:
Money Saving Expert

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Six tips to identify and avoid loan sharks

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) encourages people to join credit unions, in order to save regularly or enable them to obtain legal, affordable loans, when emergencies arise. They have launched a pilot scheme, Stop Loan Sharks, that helps in educating people about loan sharks and support those who have fallen victims of illegal money lending.

Here are six tips to help people spot the signs of illegal money lending and avoid falling victim to loan sharks:

1. Do not borrow loans from people who you speak to you in a public place including pubs, at the school gates or in your workplace.

2. Loan sharks look like ordinary people. However, this is how you can spot them:

  • You won’t get any paperwork like a credit agreement or record of payments
  • They will offer you a loan in cash or bank transfer
  • They may add a huge amount of interest to the loan
  • They will threaten you if you fall behind in your payments
  • You may be forced to hand over your passport, bank card, benefit card or driving licence as security on the loan.

3. You can call the 24-hour confidential hotline (0300 555 2222) for advice, if you or you know someone who has fallen victim of a loan shark. You can also report a loan shark using their confidential online form or by email.

4. You are under no legal obligation to repay the debt so don’t worry!

5. To find out if someone is an authorised lender, you can visit the FCA register online.

6. If you do need to borrow a loan from a reliable and reputable organisation, then look no further than a credit union. A credit union works to benefit their members, helping to provide communities with affordable loans and savings products. At Oxfordshire Credit Union, we provide affordable rates with no hidden costs. What’s more is that we are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority which means that we have a set of rules that we maintain, and which set out how we are managed.

To find out more about the ‘Stop Loan Sharks’ Scheme and the IMLT, you can visit their website.

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How to manage your money and reach your financial goals

In these difficult times, people have either become accidental savers with fewer expenses or finding their debts escalating out of control. While some factors affecting financial well-being are beyond an individual’s control, understanding financial knowledge and money management can help people through difficult times or times of prosperity.

We would therefore like to recommend the MoneySkills app which has been created by researchers from the Centre for Business in Society (CBiS) at Coventry University. The app combines practical tips and step-by-step guides to help you manage your money and reach your financial goals.

It has the following features:

• Goals tool that will help you set and track your financial goals
• Ezines that are short and easy to read
• Explainer videos that will teach you how to budget, set goals, save money and more
• Interactive budget planning tool.

What’s more, this app is FREE and is available to download from the App Store or the Google Play Store.

For more information, you can visit their website.

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Dividend of 0.5% to be paid in June

Dear Members,

At the AGM of the credit union back in March, we discussed the appropriate level of dividend that should be paid. A vote by the members supported the proposal by the board of directors that a dividend of 0.5% should be paid. This will be paid in the month of June directly into your account.

With kind regards,

Bindu Varkey, Chair of Oxfordshire Credit Union

Find out more of the topics covered during our AGM.

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Introducing key worker loans

As a token of our appreciation, we have introduced a key worker loan for key workers including NHS, Council, Emergency and School staff.

Key Workers Loans of £1,000 are repayable over up to 60 months at just 1% per month interest (12.68% APR). Loans are subject to affordability and credit checks.

New members joining and saving through payroll deduction can get up to £2,000 unless they are a homeowner in which case, they can borrow £3,000.

New key worker members joining and saving through a standing order, will be restricted to loans of £1,000.

Key Worker Loans may be added to existing loans providing affordability checks are satisfied. Any combined loan will attract the new loan rate of 1% (12.68% APR).

Apply now.

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Child benefit savers in OX4 top of the top-up loans

Members living in OX4 were the quickest off the mark to top up their Child Benefit Loans since its launch in April 2020. Whilst many members rushed to top their loans up, those in OX4 were by far quicker and more numerous.

Remember to refer your friends that are in receipt of child benefits to the credit union and claim your £50 referral bonus for each one that you refer. Make sure that they add your name to their joining form.

If you want to top up your loan, please email us on admin@cus.coop.

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University College Oxford joins payroll saving scheme

University College Oxford has joined the growing number of employers enabling their staff to save into their credit union account through a deduction from their payroll.

Angela Unsworth MBE, Domestic Bursar, confirmed that the decision has been made and that their staff would now be free to save with Oxfordshire Credit Union through payroll deduction.

University College Oxford joins Oxford University Hospitals; Oxford City Council; Oxford Bus; Response and Guenther Truesdale Bakeries as employers that enable their staff to save through a monthly deduction from payroll.

If you would are an employer or an employee that isn’t part of the payroll deduction scheme, contact us on admin@cus.coop.

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Introductory Payroll Loans referral scheme

If you are saving with Oxfordshire Credit Union through payroll deduction and you refer a co-worker to Oxfordshire Credit Union who takes an “Introductory Loan” of at least £2,000 repayable over at least 24 months, we will give both of you a £100 bonus which cannot be withdrawn until the loan has been repaid.

How it works:

Step 1: Your co-worker needs to complete the Joining and Loan forms. They would then have to email the forms to info@oxfordshirecreditunion.co.uk.

Step 2: You would also need to complete the Loan form with the referee’s name in the ‘Promo Code Box’ on the Loan Form. This cannot be added after the form has been received. Once completed, email the form to info@oxfordshirecreditunion.co.uk.

Step 3: If your colleague then goes ahead and takes the introductory loan, we will email you both confirming that you’ve qualified for the referral bonus.

You can refer as many colleagues as you wish.

Terms and Conditions apply.

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AGM 2020 and Financial statements 2019

Changes to the Annual General Meeting (AGM) 2020 on 31 March 2020 at 6:00 PM.

Further to the invitation we sent to you last month, and taking into account the recent developments in the UK in respect of the Coronavirus, we have made some changes for the running of this year’s AGM.

Your wellbeing remains an absolute priority. The Government’s advice on social distancing means we have made the decision to conduct the meeting remotely via a conferencing application called Zoom.

You will have the option to either connect using your computer/mobile video, computer/mobile audio or dialling into the meeting by landline phone or mobile phone using the instructions provided in the AGM Agenda.

This is our chance to report back to you as a Board, to hear your views and to gain your approval on such matters as new board members and a proposal from the Board that we should pay a dividend.

More details below:

Invitation

Agenda

Minutes of the AGM 2019

Financial Statements for the year ended 30 September 2019

We look forward to seeing you then.

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