Monday, 26 February 2018

JOHN’S BLOG – FEBRUARY 2018


We are only into February but there’s lots going on at HEYCU to tell you about already:


RENEWABLE ENERGY POWERS NEW PARTNERSHIP

We are celebrating our new energy efficient status after installing solar panels, LED lighting and internal insulation as part of a new partnership with Co-op Energy.


Our Brook Street headquarters in Hull city centre now boasts 22 solar panels on the roof, along with new LED office lighting and internal insulation, provided by Co-operative Energy Saving.
Each solar twin peak panel has the capacity to produce up to 265w, meaning the new installation could create nearly 5,000kWh a year, saving up to £800 per annum.
Co-operative Energy Saving aims to help combat climate change by helping individuals, community groups and small businesses to reduce their energy consumption and bills.  This fantastic initiative has made us realise that, even as a relatively small organisation, we can play an important part in tackling climate change. It is an issue that we know our member-owners are very passionate about.
Martin Cook, Affiliates Manager at Co-op Energy, said: “One of our main goals as a co-operative is to help create a more environmentally-friendly and sustainable world, and working closely with like-minded individuals, communities and organisations is an essential part of this.
“Our project with Hull & East Yorkshire Credit Union shows what can be achieved when we work collaboratively to help shape the future of energy generation.”



NOW OUR CHRISTMAS SAVER PRIZE DRAWS ARE MONTHLY!

We’re so thrilled with the big increase in Christmas Saver accounts this year that we’ve decided to have a special Prize Draw once a month to encourage members to keep on saving!
At each month end we’ll draw a winner at random from all who have paid into their Christmas Saver account during that month.  So, remember to make at least one deposit per month and then you’ll qualify to be entered in every draw.   You’ll also be very glad when Christmas comes along and you have lots of money to draw upon, for a stress-free festive season.
Our first prize winner – in January – was Gemma Smirk of Kingswood, who is the proud owner of a new food blender, to get her new year off to a healthy start. 
February’s prize will have a Valentines’ theme –maybe the winner could be YOU?



WELCOME TO NEW MEMBERS AT LEBUS

We were delighted to welcome eight new members at Lebus Upholstery, the furniture makers in Scunthorpe where we have a payroll partnership. Lebus workers can save and borrow with us direct from their pay, thanks to their enlightened management who offer them this fantastic staff benefit. 
Workers who use this service say they don’t miss the money, as it comes out before they get paid and goes into a savings account with us.   It’s a great way of “secret saving” for a special holiday or treat for a family member.   It’s also easy to change the amount – up or down – but many members just keep it the same year after year, building up a nice nest-egg for later in life.
Does your employer offer payroll deduction to our credit union?  If not, why not ask them to?   Employers simply contact us to find out how to operate it – and it’s really easy to administer.  If you can convince your employer to offer this benefit, we’ll reward you with £50.



CENTRE4 LAUNCH NEW SAVINGS CLUB TO HELP RESIDENTS PLAN AHEAD

Grimsby’s MP, Melanie Onn, helped us launch a new partnership for the people of North East Lincolnshire on Friday 23 February.  The Christmas Savings Club has now started at Centre4, the well-used community hub at Wootton Road, Grimsby.
Local residents will be able to pop into Centre4 to deposit small amounts of cash at a convenient time, giving them access to our credit union as a welcome alternative to payday loans, doorstep lenders and even illegal money lenders operating across North East Lincolnshire.
Linda Dellow, Chief Officer at Centre4 said, “We are delighted to offer a Christmas Savings Club from Centre4. We fully understand the financial pressures facing some people and how difficult it can be to budget from week to week, never mind keeping money back for Christmas. A Christmas Savings Club can help people put small amounts of money away on a regular basis and give them access to a savings fund at what is always an expensive time of year”.
For a limited time, a £10 bonus is available to anyone opening an account. The Christmas Savings bonus is provided by the Stop Loan Sharks project as a further incentive for people to develop a savings habit and keep away from high cost, high risk lending.  It is funded using proceeds of crime money; cash that has been seized from loan sharks under money laundering laws.
Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said:
“We’re pleased to be working with Centre4 and Northern Lincolnshire Credit Union to launch this new incentive, which will see loan sharks’ cash being put to good use, to sponsor new Christmas savings accounts.  Loan sharks prey on the most vulnerable members of our communities and extort them out of hard earned cash. If you have fallen victim to an illegal money lender, we urge you to contact us on 0300 555 2222 or www.stoploansharks.uk. We will take information anonymously and in confidence.”



HORNSEA WANTS A CREDIT UNION

I took a call from Councillor John Whittle of Hornsea in East Yorkshire the other day.  His enquiry was an all too familiar one these days, sadly.  The town of Hornsea (population 8.000+) is losing its last High Street bank in May.   After that, residents won’t have a local bank to pop into.   He asked whether the Credit Union could consider providing a service in the town.
Without funding, we would struggle to provide a high street banking presence in a town like Hornsea, but if we some enthusiastic volunteers came forward, maybe we could set up a weekly contact point, similar to those we operate in Driffield, Withernsea, Beverley, Howden and a few other places.   At least local residents would have somewhere to deposit savings and apply for affordable loans with a reputable organisation that cares for the local community – because we are owned by our members and exist solely to serve them, rather than make profits for City shareholders and bonuses for Fat Cat managers who I don’t suppose even know where Hornsea is.
Anyway, I’ve accepted an invitation to speak at Hornsea Town Council meeting on 5 March, so we’ll see what happens after that.  No promises, of course. 



SCHOOL BANK NEWS

Recently my staff colleague Jamie-Leigh issued our Spring-term Pennies 2 Pounds Newsletter to the schools where we have a volunteer run school bank.   She reminded everyone that mums, dads, uncles, aunties, grandparents and younger or older siblings can all save at the school bank, not just pupils.  It’s a popular way to get the whole family into the habit of regular saving so that money is available for Christmas, holidays, school trips, kit and uniform, birthday treats and so on.   Staff at most of our schools can also pay into the Credit Union direct from their salary.
The newsletter offers volunteers some useful tips for spreading the word about a school bank:
·        Ask about mentioning your school bank on the school’s website.  Some do this already but others don’t, probably because no one has suggested it.  It’s a good way to let the parents and wider community know when the school bank runs.  
·        Does the school produce a parents’ Newsletter? If so, perhaps they could include a short article about the school bank.
·        Hand out a flyer with an application form at the school gate (with head teacher’s permission).
·        Ask about sending flyers out with the children’s book bags.
·        Could someone offer to present an assembly in school, talking about the benefits of saving and looking after money, with some fun activities, music and rhymes?

We’re thrilled that Archie of Boothferry Primary School is our first P2P Saver to be awarded a Super Saver Certificate and P2P lunch bag.   He has saved with us regularly since the school bank opened in 2013 and reached an amazing personal savings target.



GOOLE & DISTRICT LOCAL MEMBERS’ GROUP

Our second meeting was held at The Courtyard, Goole on 31 January.  It was well-supported and we welcomed two new members.   The Know Your Credit Union Quiz was great fun and members were amazed to learn that since we were formed in 1999, our Credit Union reckons to have saved the people of Hull and East Yorkshire over £13 million by providing loans cheaper than doorstep lenders.   Jean Taylor and Janet Sowden won prizes for the most correct answers.
We discussed lots of ideas for improving the Pasture Road Credit Union branch, at modest cost.  We already have a play table to keep the little ones amused while parents make their transactions, and there are exciting plans to freshen up the d├ęcor, make better use of the back room and install a new sign.  We’re grateful to members of the Group for their suggestions and offers of help.
Since the meeting Councillor Pat O’Neil came to spend a day in branch with Jo and it was a great pleasure to have her company.  Pat was amazed at the variety of ways in which we try to help the people of Goole to make the best use of their money.   We have recently started to promote our partnership with Co-op Electrical, which lets members obtain domestic appliances much cheaper than certain weekly payment stores.  And they give a choice of delivery times!



VISITS TO DWP OFFICES

I’ve planned some visits to DWP sites over the next two months, to recruit more members, meet our Workplace Champions and say hello to existing members across the wide area we serve.  On 13-14 March I’ll be at Glasgow, Paisley and Motherwell.   April sees visits to Stockton-on-Tees, and possibly Seaham in the North-East, and also some offices in West Yorkshire. 
It was fascinating to learn that we were featured in a question in Parliament, when it was revealed that the three credit unions serving DWP staff (CommSave, Voyager Alliance and HEYCU) had enrolled 3,800 DWP members and provided them with loans of £4 million since July 2016.
A busy few weeks lies ahead, as we will also be launching a new payroll partnership to provide our popular savings and loans service to the staff of North East Lincolnshire Council. 



HULL’S HEADSCARF REVOLUTIONARIES

Did you see the BBC4 documentary about the group of Hull women who, 50 years ago, fought for decent health and safety at sea after 58 men lost their lives in the Triple Trawler Tragedy of 1968?
Deep sea fishing was the city’s most dangerous industry, with frequent loss of life, and many thought that nothing could be done about it.  Not so, “Big Lil” Bilocca and her friends, whose determined and ultimately successful campaign to stop unsafe trawlers from going to sea, in the face of stiff opposition from owners and sometimes the menfolk themselves, earned them the title “Headscarf Revolutionaries”.   It’s another example of the “power of the people” that makes us so proud of our home city. 



CHILD BENEFIT LOAN & SAVINGS PLAN
This is rapidly becoming one of our most popular products, with several hundred families now regularly having their Child Benefit paid into the Credit Union.   It’s a really simple and sensible way of combining saving and borrowing to make the most of your money.   A loan of £500 over a year costs just £12 a week, which means that someone receiving Child Benefit of £21, could save up to £470 a year just by leaving it in to mount up, say for use at Christmas.  Find out more.



Monday, 8 January 2018

JOHN’S BLOG – JANUARY 2018

A very Happy New Year to all readers!   


HOW ARE WE DOING?

The first quarter of our new Credit Union year (to 31 December) was certainly a hectic one, with all HEYCU branches experiencing an increase in activity compared with the same period a year ago.
By the end of the Christmas Loan season the value of loans issued was 44% higher than in the same season of 2016, and the income earned from loan interest was 26% higher.  
We are now serving 12,500 adult members and 1,400 junior savers, including 1,122 members employed by the DWP.
I’d like to thank our marvellous team of staff and volunteers for their hard work in growing the Credit Union and looking after our members so professionally.  If we can keep this momentum going, we will transform our results by next year end.


CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNERS!

Well done and congratulations to our winning members and junior savers:
Grace (Acre Heads), Ella (Driffield Infants) and Christopher (Nafferton) were judged winners of our autumn School Savers’ poster colouring competition.  We had some stunning entries so that it was very difficult for our Member Services Team to pick the winners!   All entrants received a chocolate treat as a thank you.



Our 2017 Refer a Friend Prize Draw was won by Gail Turner of Bridlington.  Gail was delighted when she learnt that she had won a Food and Drink Hamper value £50 and said the coffee and walnut cake was her favourite!  The prize was handed over by staff colleague Sarah at our Prospect Street branch.   We’d like to thank all our members who referred a friend to join us recently – don’t forget to collect your free CU jute shopping bag next time you pop in, if you haven’t done already.


We invited members to post a review on our Facebook page.  Several of you did (many thanks) and Sarah Richardson was the name pulled out of the hat to win a visit for two to Father Christmas at Princes Quay, Hull!   So pleased you enjoyed it, Sarah.


OUR GOOLE CHRISTMAS TOY APPEAL

We felt very privileged to be invited to help Our Goole magazine’s first ever Christmas Toy Appeal.  So many people and local businesses collected presents for the appeal that there wasn’t an inch of spare space at our Goole branch on the day when they were distributed to local families! 
Jo Evans (Goole Branch) said: “We have a number of families we work with who have massively benefited from this toy appeal. It was so great to be involved and I found it quite emotional when the parents saw the presents and realised they were able to choose something for their children. 
This has made such a big difference to so many families in our area.  Without the toy appeal, some of these children would have had very little to look forward to.  The look on the parents’ faces was just priceless and that will stay with me for a long time. I feel so proud to have been involved”.
Lisa Warrener, director of Our Goole, said: “We were absolutely blown away by the amount of presents we received for the appeal but not entirely surprised.  The people of Goole are well known for pulling together to help others in times of need and this toy appeal once again proved that to be true.”


OUR FANTASTIC AGM 2017

As always, it was a great thrill to welcome our members to their Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Hull’s prestigious Guildhall on 12th December.
Members asked a variety of thoughtful questions on the annual report, which the President and I did our best to answer.   Our guest speaker, Aidene Walsh, chief executive of the Fairbanking Foundation, gave an interesting presentation, explaining how we qualified for the 5-star Fairbanking Mark for our CU Loans. 
After voting on the annual dividend, the director elections took place.  Congratulations to John Lawrence, Sue Nicholson and Alan Hignett on being re-elected to the Board, and to our two new directors, Joanne Foster and Altynay Guney.  
Altynay is part of the Customer Experience Team at Hull City Council and speaks several languages.  She has set up a community organisation to support Eastern Europeans living in the region with employment, welfare and financial issues, and is also a director of the Goodwin Development Trust.
Joanne, previously a HEYCU director from 2011 to 2013, has many years’ experience in financial services and banking, as well as working for leading social housing providers.  She served as a DWP Financial Inclusion Champion and is currently a social housing and welfare reform consultant.
Read the minutes of the AGM and some feedback from those members who attended.


AIM HIGHER – OUR CHARITY OF THE YEAR

At the AGM we held a “spare change” collection for a local charity, Aim Higher, raising £81.60.  We’re also adding in some other funds collected over the festive period and will arrange a presentation very soon. 
Aim Higher is a new charity launched in September 2016 to empower local families who face challenges with autism, mental health and educational barriers.  They organise regular support group meetings and offer one-to-one support for families as required.  They do some great work and you can read more on their website
We’ve decided to make Aim Higher our HEYCU charity of the year and the Employees’ Council will be planning some fund raising events that we can all support.


WEST HULL COMMUNITY RADIO

I was pleased to be invited on to West Hull FM recently to talk about our Credit Union.  This energetic local radio station broadcasts to a target community of 100,000 people in West Hull, Hessle, Cottingham, Anlaby and Willerby, who listen in on 106.9 FM or online.  It operates on a not-for-profit basis (like us) and is funded by sponsors, advertisers, grants and donations.
The aim of West Hull FM is to produce truly local radio, working with volunteers, local groups and organisations to give a voice to the community.  The station is staffed mostly by a team of dedicated, committed volunteers who excel in producing and presenting unique and innovative programmes.
From what I saw, there should be more ventures like West Hull FM and I look forward to visiting them again at some point.   If you’re in their area, why not listen in for yourself or find out more here


HEYCU PEOPLE

At the December Board meeting, our new President was welcomed into office!   Alan Hignett, who has been our President for the past four years, completed his term of office and handed over to Andy Stankard, who will now serve until at least December 2019.
The role of a Credit Union President is a key one, as it involves chairing all Members’ Meetings, chairing and leading the Board of Directors to ensure that its meetings are run effectively, supporting the individual directors and liaising well with the Chief Executive, as well as being the public face of the CU in many ways.
In my next blog there’ll be a pen portrait and some words from Andy on his hopes and plans for his time in office.
Meanwhile, there’s been some changes in the office.  Zoe (Hull Member Services) left to take up a management role elsewhere and we wish her all the best. 
Lauren has taken on the new role of Branch Development Co-ordinator and will become a familiar face at our branches over the coming months as we develop our exciting plans.  In 2017 Lauren was one of the first graduates from the CU Futures Leadership programme.


LOCAL MEMBERS’ GROUPS

Here’s a quick reminder that in parts of our region, we have Local Members’ Groups meeting regularly to engage our members in learning more about their Credit Union and helping to promote it in their area.
Driffield Local Members’ Group meets on the fourth Wednesday of every month from 10 am to 11 am at the branch office, Market Walk, Driffield.  Recently they ran a very popular stall at the Christmas Market with the help of our Penny the pennywise penguin, and they often raise funds for local charities.
Goole & District Local Members’ Group next meets on Wednesday 31 January from 6.00 pm at the Courtyard, Boothferry Road, Goole.  There’ll be light refreshments, a quiz and a prize draw.
If you are a member living in those areas, why not pop along and join in?  The meetings are very informal and you’ll be made most welcome.


TIME FOR A NEW YEAR MONEY MAKEOVER

This month we’re really keen to help people across the Humber Region to give their money a New Year Makeover.  We’d love members and non-members alike to pop into one of our branches for a chat to see if we can save them some money.
At this time of year, those credit card bills drop through the letter box and many people find themselves embarrassed by the balances they ran up on the festive spends.  Some will certainly be paying more in monthly payments than they need to. This is where we may be able to help.   Why not see if you could Swap & Drop by switching to a Credit Union Loan with lower interest and lower repayments?
With a CU Loan, you not only simplify your finances by making one simple, smaller payment, but you can choose to “save as you borrow”, with repayments split between your loan and savings.  So, when you’ve repaid your loan, you’ll have built up some handy savings too. 
As part of the Money Makeover, we’d also encourage you to open a Christmas Saver account.  With over £700,000 saved in 2017, ours is probably the Humber Region’s biggest Christmas Club, with all the funds safely protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (many clubs aren’t), and locked away from temptation until 1st November each year. 
The Money Advice Trust, a debt charity, is advising consumers to plan ahead, set a household budget for 2018 and look at joining a Credit Union to save up for a stress-free Christmas.   We’d agree – and to make it even more appealing, for a limited period we’re offering a £10 Bonus to anyone who opens a Christmas Saver account with us, makes at least two deposits, and keeps the savings in until November.   The £10 bonuses are kindly funded by the Illegal Money Lending Team, a public agency that helps to combat loan sharks.
So there’s just two ideas for your New Year Money Makeover – let’s see if we can help, pop into a branch today for a chat with our friendly team, or call us on 01482 778753.




Monday, 27 November 2017

JOHN’S BLOG – NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017

Life is buzzing here at HEY-CU as it’s “all hands on deck” to provide our members with the funds they need to afford the coming festive season.  If we take a little longer than usual to respond to your enquiries, we hope you will understand.


OUR AGM







We are looking forward to meeting our members at the AGM on Tuesday 12 December in Hull Guildhall.  The meeting starts at 5.45 pm but food and drink is available from 5.15 pm.  It promises to be an interesting meeting as we have lots to tell you about our action-packed year as well as our exciting plans for 2018.   We promise there won’t be any long speeches but we are thrilled that Aidene Walsh of the Fairbanking Foundation is coming to say a few words about our award of a 5-star Fairbanking Mark which was obviously one of the highspots of our 2017.

Our Annual Newsletter and Report & Accounts are now on our website for you to and we will shortly post details of the candidates nominated for the Board of Directors so that you can read about them ahead of the meeting if you wish.   If you are unable to come to the meeting but would like to email a question on the report, we’ll try to have it answered at the meeting and then forward a reply to you.


RECORD CHRISTMAS SAVINGS
It’s been another record year for our Christmas Saver accountMembers accumulated just over £700,000 by 1st November, the date when the funds were unlocked for withdrawal.   All branches increased their festive savers this year but I want to make particular mention of our newest contact points – Howden and Hemingbrough – where, despite us only opening in June and September respectively, the savvy-saving residents managed to amass £4,634 towards Christmas, and earn themselves £1,450 in bonuses thanks to our Shop the Sharks Campaign!

While browsing a well-known bookshop the other day I was fascinated to find a paperback called Me Sannies are Brannies by John Brien.   It lists all the words and phrases that Hull folk use that are unique to the city, you know, like “mama mia” (here I am, mother) and “goin’ on rerd (going shopping).  It even mentioned Didlums – the informal savings clubs often run by work mates or neighbours Hull people use to save up for Christmas.  Here at HEY-CU we must surely be running the biggest Didlum in the City – our Christmas Saver account!   It’s probably the safest one as well, because it’s entirely protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, unlike those informal ones.   If you haven’t joined yet, why not give it a try and aim for a stress-free Christmas 2018.   I can see all you non-Hullites wondering: Me Sannies are Brannies?  - My sand shoes (gym shoes) are brand new.


LOANS GALORE


We’re very delighted that more and more people are discovering that our Credit Union Loan offers a great way to spread the cost whether it’s for Christmas treats, replacement domestic items, a new car, home improvements, a holiday, a special family celebration or whatever.  Since the morning BBC TV series featured credit unions a few weeks back, footfall in our branches has been higher than ever, and our loans are up 35% compared to the same period last year.  Our Child Benefit Loan and Savings Plan has taken off in a big way – check it out on our website – while, for our payroll members, our Flexi-Credit product is proving highly popular.    

During October and November we experimented with Saturday opening at our main Brook Street branch and there was a good response.  We will be evaluating the results shortly to see if this is something that would be worth repeating.

There’s still time to apply for a CU Loan for Christmas but don’t leave it too long!


DRIFFIELD CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL AND LIGHT SWITCH ON
If you’re out and about in Driffield on Friday 1st December the chances are you’ll meet our pennywise friend, Penny the penguin!   She’ll be helping our volunteers on the Credit Union stall at Driffield’s Christmas Market, which starts at 2 pm and lasts until 8 pm.  The festive fun takes place in the Market Place, with the big switch on at 7 pm. There’ll be lots of gift ideas, music and street entertainment, a family fun fair, tombola, hog roast and a chance to see Santa on his sparkling sleigh.  Talking of gift ideas, why not open a First Saver account for the special children in your life; you’ll be setting them up for a bright financial future?


OUR GOOLE TOY APPEAL
We’re proud to be supporting the Our Goole Christmas Toy Appeal, which distributes gifts to local families who need a bit of support. Anyone wishing to donate may drop off new unwrapped gifts at our Goole branch, 22 Pasture Road on Mondays, Tuesdays or Fridays from 10 am to 2 pm.  Let’s make their Christmas a special one.


MEMBERS’ LOTTERY
Those Credit Union Friendly Folk who run our monthly Members’ Lottery have issued their Annual Report and Accounts which make interesting reading.  During the year to 30 September 2017 they sold 12,371 Lottery tickets and paid out prizes worth £7,278 (58%).  They again donated £5,000 to our Credit Union to support our training, marketing and postage costs.  We are most grateful to the Hull Branch of UNISON, the public service union, for becoming our main Lottery sponsor for 2017-19, which means more prizes for our members each month. 

We’re keen to find more sponsors to help swell the prize fund.  Organisations who become Lottery sponsors get great publicity in our newsletters, on social media and the branch TV screens, which are seen by thousands of members.  If your organisation would like to support us, do please get in touch.


DEMENTIA FRIENDS
Our staff team had an interesting talk by one of the Dementia Friends Champions, a trained volunteer from the Alzheimer’s Society.  We wanted to understand more about dementia so that we can better help members with the condition when they visit or call us on the phone.  We learnt five important things about dementia:
·        It’s not a natural part of ageing;
·        It’s caused by diseases of the brain;
·        It’s not just about losing your memory, it can affect thinking, communicating and doing everyday tasks;
·        It is possible to live well with dementia; and
·        There’s more to a person than dementia.  With support, people with dementia can and do take an active role in life.
Hopefully, by becoming Dementia Friends we can play a small part in helping to build more dementia-friendly communities.  If you need support or advice about dementia, visit alzheimers.org.uk or contact the National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 1122.  To enquire about becoming a Dementia Friend, email dementiafriends@alzheimers.org.uk or call 0845 306 0898.


CREDIT UNION ARCHIVE
One of our active volunteers suggested that, now HEY-CU has passed its 18th anniversary, it could be time to set up an archive to ensure our proud history is properly recorded for the benefit of future generations.   We are required by law to keep minutes of our board and committee meetings of course, and we have a full set of annual reports, but also over the years we’ve amassed a range of artefacts such as City of Hull Credit Union mugs, pens, coasters, rulers, shopping bags, membership cards and printed material of every kind.  We’ve also won one or two awards and trophies along the way which would look very splendid in a display case.   If anyone is interested in helping us to celebrate our history, has any expertise in this area, or any relevant items they’d like to donate to a HEY-CU archive, do please get in touch!


TAKE FIVE – TO STOP FRAUD
We are always anxious to help our members to stay safe and avoid becoming victims of financial fraud.  That’s why we’re supporting Take Five – a national campaign led by Financial Fraud Action and backed by HM Government, that offers straightforward and impartial advice to help everyone stay clear of preventable financial fraud.

Many of us think we’d never fall for a fraudulent text or email, but criminals are more sophisticated than ever.  Take a test to see if you can spot the fraud and know when it’s time to say ‘My money? My info? I don’t think so’.

It’s worth remembering, your bank, credit union or the police will never:
·        phone and ask you for your PIN or full banking password, even by tapping them into your phone keypad;
·        ask you to withdraw money to hand over to them for safe-keeping;
·        ask you to transfer money to a safe account for fraud reasons, even if they say the account is in your name;
·        send someone to your home to collect cash, PIN, cards or cheque books if you are a victim of fraud;
·        ask you to purchase goods using your card and then hand them over for safe-keeping.


FESTIVE OPENING TIMES
As Santa and his helpers prepare to make their deliveries, here at HEY-CU the seasonal work of our staff and volunteer team will be almost done, and we’ll be ready for a little rest.  So, some of our branches will have different opening times between 18 December and 2 January.  Check out here when your branch will be open.  Our phone lines will open the same days as Hull Central branch.



Everyone at HEY-CU sends seasonal greetings and wishes all friends a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018.

Friday, 13 October 2017

JOHN’S BLOG – OCTOBER 2017

We’re having an exciting time here at HEYCU. With “year-end” behind us and the accounts all safely away to the auditors, we are now into our busy autumn season and there’s lots going on:


LET’S TELL THE WORLD … ABOUT CREDIT UNIONS
On Thursday 19th October it’s International Credit Union Day, when we celebrate the achievements of credit unions all around the world and the positive way they help people to afford their lives.  You can find out more about the worldwide credit union movement here

Bearing in mind that our friends at Hull City of Culture 2017 have adopted a “Tell the World” theme for their final quarter’s activities, we thought we would do similar and Tell the World about Credit Unions throughout the week 15th to 21st October.   Each day we will post an interesting fact about credit unions on Facebook and Twitter - watch out for these, like, retweet and help us to spread the word.
If you’re popping into our branches during the week, there may be some treats and a quick quiz or prize draw to take part in too!


WE’RE OPENING ON THE NEXT FIVE SATURDAYS
As a service to members to help them to apply for loans for Christmas and other purposes, we’ll be opening our Brook Street branch in Hull City Centre for the next five Saturdays from 10 am to 1 pm.  Our friendly team will be there to greet anyone who pops in to find out more about what we do, how to join, what services we offer, obtain free quotations and apply for loans.  We won’t be operating a cash withdrawal service on Saturdays, but that will free us up to spend more time with people who call in to enquire. 
Saturday openings will be on 21 and 28 October, 4, 11 and 18 November.


HAVE YOU SEEN OUR NEW SHOPPING BAGS? 
Members love our new jute shopping bags!  They hold a lot of shopping and are very comfortable to hold.  You could be the proud owner of one of our lovely bags.   All you have to do is refer a friend to become a Credit Union Member and when they start saving with us, or receive a CU Loan, we’ll give them and you a free bag and enter you both in a prize draw to win a £50 Christmas Hamper.
With Christmas on the way, it’s an ideal time to encourage a friend, family member or work colleague to sign up – let’s get recruiting!


DITCH THE DOORSTEP LENDER
Given the acute problems that people have experienced with one doorstep lender in particular this year, and the huge cost suffered by people using them, isn’t it time to urge everyone to Ditch the Doorstep Lender and come to the CU instead?  Head over to our website to read some interesting facts comparing doorstep lenders and credit unions!   
 

BBC PROGRAMMES – A MATTER OF LIFE OR DEBT
Have you seen the programmes on the BBC called “A Matter of Life of Debt”?   They are on BBC1 on weekdays at 11 am or BBC2 at 7.15 am the next day or on iPlayer.  They reveal some fascinating and heartwarming stories of people who have received ethical loans, and the role that credit unions play for all walks of life.  In one example, a credit union member had received a low-cost loan which he had used to refurbish an ice cream van to enable him to start a new venture.  It was “ice creams all round” in his community on the day his dream was realised!   Our staff team are reporting a huge boost in the number of enquiries coming in by phone and email since the series began, and there are many more to come.  



MORE POWER TO US!
It is exciting to announce that we are now generating our own electricity here at HEYCU headquarters!   We’ve worked with our energy partners, Co-op Energy, to plan and install a set of solar panels on the flat roof at Brook Street, which is both an investment in the future (keeping our energy costs down for the benefit of all members) and a statement of our desire to develop practices friendly to the environment.


NEW MEMBERS’ GROUP – TOWN COUNCIL MEETING
We are thrilled that our new Goole & District Member’s Group had a great launch in September.  Members came from Howden, Snaith and Gilberdyke as well as Goole for the first meeting, held at the Lowther Hotel.  A Know your Credit Union quiz, devised by Steve Verity, got us off to a fun start, and was won by Pat O’Neil.  I explained about various credit union services members might have been unaware of, and we discussed how we can spread the word about HEYCU.  Leaflet campaigns and a presence in the Market were just some ideas put forward.  We rounded off the evening by cutting a specially decorated cake to celebrate Goole branch’s 8th anniversary, and everyone went home with one of our stylish CU shopping bags!   The Group agreed to meet again on a Wednesday just before Easter 2018 – all members in DN14, HU15 and YO8 postcode areas are most welcome.
On another September evening I was invited to address the members of Goole Town Council.  I presented a summary of all that we had achieved since our Pasture Road branch opened in September 2009 – quite a list - and Councillors asked me various questions.  A full report appeared in the Goole Times.  I was delighted to learn that, since our Credit Union brought fair and affordable loans to Goole, the number of loan sharks operating there had fallen dramatically.  If anyone knows of illegal lenders, they should call the confidential help line 0300 555 2222, email stoploansharks.co.uk or text 07860 022116.


MEETING HULL BID
I had a very useful and interesting meeting with the City Centre Manager at Hull BID the other day.  Kathryn and her team at Hull BID are doing a fantastic job of promoting Hull city centre as an up-and-coming destination and looking after people, like us, who trade from premises in the area.  Did you realise that, if you are a Credit Union Member, you are a property owner in Hull city centre?


BOARD MEETING SUMMARY
We’ve decided to publish a quick summary of the business conducted at our monthly Board meetings.  We’ll be starting this very soon and the summaries will appear on our website (Governance page).  Of course the summary won’t disclose the few items that, for various reasons, must remain confidential.  But, as we are a co-operative organisation owned by our members we felt that this would help members to understand what the elected directors actually do, the kind of topics that they come together to discuss, and perhaps interest other members in standing for election as one of our volunteer directors.   We’ll be inviting nominations very soon – so how would you like to be a director of your credit union?



Members – pop this date in your Diary – your AGM will be held on Tuesday 11th December in Hull Guildhall at 5.45 pm.  More on this next time!