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Blogs from your NHS Credit Union

January 2019 Blog ...


Change for the better

back on track

It’s a fair bet that you’ve eaten more food and drunk more alcohol than usual over the last few weeks.

And it’s a racing certainty that you’ve spent more than you bargained for on Christmas.

The statistics on Christmas spending are staggering. Depending which survey you read, the total cost of the Big Day could be anything from £750 to £1,500 for every adult in the UK. And over the course of your life, that could add up to around £50,000 each that we’re forking out on presents, food and drink, Christmas parties, etc.

Bad enough that we spend a fortune on the “nice” things, but I was struck by one recent study which showed how much we quite literally throw away. Research suggests the average household will spend about £11.60 on Brussels Sprouts (only for most of them to be scraped off the plate and put in the bin at the end of the meal).

Then there’s the £101 average cost of over indulging and losing your new mobile phone – or falling asleep on the last bus and having to get a taxi home.

As if that’s not enough, there’s the damage all that food and drink does to your waistline. The British Heart Foundation reckons Brits will put on almost 20million stones in total over the festive period – the equivalent of almost 10,000 double-decker buses.

xmas costs

That’s the light-hearted look at the cost of Christmas, but the financial pressure can be no laughing matter. It’s estimated that more than 11million adults could still be paying off this year’s festive bills by the time Rudolph leads the sleighs out again next year.

While we can’t do anything about your festive intake of food or alcohol, your credit union can ease the financial stress that took the shine off Santa’s visit for thousands of families across the UK.

We can provide an ethical, affordable loan to help you pay off the bills quicker and avoid crippling interest charges.

But perhaps even more relevant in the long term, we can help you plan your festive spending better and prepare earlier for those bills.

By opening a Christmas savings account, you can start to put money aside – NOW – for the big day. Putting away as little as £15 each week will give you more than £700 in the Christmas Kitty by the time the serious spending starts for Santa 2019.

More important still, it will get you into the habit of saving regularly – and in advance – which can be a huge bonus when it comes to getting your finances back on track.

Christmas should be a happy, family occasion, but all too often the burden of debt weighs far too heavily on the shoulders of struggling mums and dads for them to enjoy the festivities.

Why not open your eyes to the NHS Credit Union and see how we can help?

You can find out more about our loans here …and get all the details of our Christmas Savings Account here.

Maureen Paterson,

Interim Chief Executive Officer & Head of Finance, NHS Credit Union



December 2018 Blog ...

Joining family 


Exciting Time to join the family

When I joined the NHS Credit Union in September this year, I knew I was joining at a time of transition. Our previous CEO had recently left to join ABCUL, the trading association for credit unions, and we were reaching a huge milestone in celebrating our 20th anniversary in November 2018, ahead of the busy Christmas period.

On top of that, the role I was to fill as Business Development Manager was a brand new one for the credit union, and so it’s fair to say I expected the first few months to be a learning curve for all parties. After the initial settling period, I’ve no doubt that I’ve joined an organisation with a tangible, lasting and positive impact on all those involved.

Having previously worked in business development in the finance sector for several years, I knew I wasn’t taking a complete leap into the unknown. While this is true, there is one difference about the credit union sector that stands out to me more than anything else. In my short time here, I’ve been struck by the shared values and common goals throughout not only the NHS Credit Union, but the wider sector itself. From Board Directors to members, the belief in the beneficial impact of credit unions is universal.

This has been particularly apparent to me when visiting our fantastic NHS facilities and staff over the past few months, to promote the benefits of joining a credit union before the most expensive time of the year. After visiting numerous sites over the past few months, I’ve been delighted to hear from current members about the impact that joining has had on their financial wellbeing.

It’s not only our NHS staff who pay testament to how far we’ve come as a credit union either. I was proud and privileged to attend the NHS Credit Union’s 20th birthday celebrations at the Trades Hall in Glasgow last month. It really brings home the extent of our influence, when representatives of credit unions as far afield as Ireland and the United States praise the impact of the NHS CU. Special thanks also go to Dave Prentis from UNISON, and our charity partners Bobath & Penumbra, for attending and sharing such a special occasion with us.

As part of the marketing team here at the NHS Credit Union, I can certainly say it’s an exciting time for us. Our plans to develop a new mobile app, to make our services more accessible and convenient, will enable more of our members to enjoy an even more streamlined customer experience. Our commitment to enhancing our digital offering promises to reach more people who can benefit from our services, particularly younger generations. Innovations such as these are what reassures me that I’ve joined an organisation with a very forward-facing approach, as we continue to improve and expand our offering to the people who matter most – our members.

Here’s to a successful (if very busy!) Christmas period, and I already can’t wait to get started on what will be an exciting 2019. 

Mark Russell,

Business Development Manager, NHS Credit Union

November 2018 Blog ...


Time to bust some myths about the NHS Credit Union


At the start of this month, there were 17,174 adult members of the NHS Credit Union – and 100 more members under the age of 18.

That sounds quite impressive until you consider that in Scotland alone, there are more than 162,000 health service employees who could join the credit union. That means there are around 145,000 eligible staff who are NOT members of the credit union.

 Why is that?

Undoubtedly, some of those staff will have decided that the credit union is not for them … and that’s absolutely fine. But many of those staff will have been put off by the misconceptions that still hamper all credit unions.

So let’s play a simple game of fact or fiction.

Your money isn’t safe in the credit union … fiction.

Your money is protected in exactly the same way as any High Street bank – up to £85,000 per person.

 The technology credit unions use is outdated. … fiction.

While credit unions don’t have the budget of banks, their technology is improving all the time. Online banking is readily available for members of the NHS Credit Union – and a mobile banking app is well on the way.

 It’s hard to get your money from a credit union account … fiction.

You can easily withdraw money from your NHSCU savings account by BACs transfer either online or by phone. Contact us before noon on any working day and the money will be with you that same day.

 Opening an account is a difficult and lengthy process…fiction.

It has never been easier to open an account with the NHS Credit Union. Our smartphone messaging system means that you can complete the entire joining process in around 20 minutes … without the need to fill in any lengthy forms. 

  Credit Unions are owned by their members, run by the members – for the benefit of members … TRUE.

Unlike High Street Banks, all profits made by credit unions are either re-invested in the business or distributed to members by way of an annual dividend. No money goes to external shareholders.

So there you have it – credit unions are safe, ethical, member friendly and getting more tech-savvy with every passing day.

If you’re one of the millions of people throughout the world who are already members of a credit union, well done – the chances are that you won’t be so quick to fall foul of sky-high payday lending rates. You can also rest assured that your account isn’t helping feather the nest of the type of person who plunged the world into recession through greed and irresponsible lending.

If you’re not a member of a credit union, isn’t it time to open your eyes to what they have to offer?

The NHS Credit Union is ready and willing to welcome thousands more members into our financial family. We look forward to helping you – the staff who care for millions of people throughout the UK – improve your own financial wellbeing.

Maureen Paterson,

Interim Chief Executive Officer & Head of Finance, NHS Credit Union

October 2018 Blog ...


20 years of the NHS Credit Union – from strength to strength

 2018 is a special year for all of us involved in the NHS Credit Union. Not only does it mark our 20th birthday, but it’s also the 70th anniversary of the NHS itself. When Nye Bevan founded the National Health Service in 1948, he did so with the values of social justice and universal access at its core. I’m proud to say that these beliefs still run just as strongly throughout our Credit Union.

Like many of our colleagues in the healthcare industry, those of us in the ethical finance sector are driven by the desire to enact change, and to help others. I’m absolutely confident of the fact that this is our key driving factor here at the NHS CU. It’s this belief that’s been motivating us since 1998.

Since that time, we’ve achieved some fantastic milestones. We now employ a staff of 17 people, serving over 17,000 NHS staff, with total assets of more than £23 million. We’ve been able to expand our product offering, from a maximum loan amount of £2,000 in 1998, to a range of different products up to the value of £25,000 in 2018.

The progress we’ve made is no accident, and has only been made possible thanks to the cooperation, dedication, and enthusiasm of the NHS CU team.
This is in no small part down to our former recent CEO, Robert Kelly, who has since moved on to lead our national trade association as ABCUL Chief Executive Officer. Those of us at the NHS CU who know Robert, have no doubt that Robert’s unwavering passion and wealth of experience make him the perfect candidate to lead our movement into what is undoubtedly an exciting time for all credit unions.

The recent demise of payday lender Wonga, and the increasing awareness of ethical alternatives present credit unions with a perfect opportunity to put ourselves forwards as a fairer, more affordable option to those in need of our services.

Closer to the home of the NHS CU in Glasgow, was the news that the Scottish government plans to invest over £1million into cooperatives and credit unions in the area. As the latest Programme for Government 2018/2019 states, “accessing affordable credit is a concern generally across Scotland,” and this kind of investment is absolutely crucial to bringing about inclusive economic and social change. It’s exciting news, and we’ll certainly be welcoming it here at the NHS CU.

Just as it’s a great time to be involved in credit unions, it’s a great time to be a member of our credit union. We’re improving how we do things, from communicating with members, to making our services more accessible and visible to those who can benefit from joining. In our industry, it’s crucial not to stay still, but to evolve and adapt with the current climate and the challenges we face. We can’t wait for what the future holds - for ourselves, our current members, and our future members too.

We’ll be celebrating our 20th birthday on the 20th November in Glasgow, and we’re all looking forward to what’s promising to be a fantastic occasion, so be sure to stay tuned to our social media channels for updates and coverage from the day itself.

Maureen Paterson,

Interim Chief Executive Officer & Head of Finance, NHS Credit Union