Your questions answered
Like all credit unions, the NHS Credit Union is a financial co-operative, owned and controlled by its members.
While credit unions offer many of the same services as High Street banks, they operate a different business model with members electing the directors. Any operating surplus generated from a credit union's activities is either re-invested in the business or distributed among members by way of a dividend.
Worldwide, credit unions now control assets worth billions of pounds. However, the common ethos is providing ethical financial services to members.
Credit unions offer a range of savings accounts, with members choosing how much - or how little - they want to save. They also offer loan products suited to members' needs, with the focus being on the member's ability to afford repayments.
Surveys of customers at banks and credit unions have consistently shown a significantly higher customer satisfaction rate with the quality of service at credit unions.
A credit union is a community of its members, whose aims are to promote their financial wellbeing through savings, affordable and appropriate lending opportunities, and through the promotion of greater financial awareness. Members are the owners of the credit union and the pressure to generate profit for shareholder dividends is therefore greatly reduced. Any surpluses generated by the credit union are redistributed among the members, or retained to develop the business.
The structure and nature of a credit union frequently enables it to help those who are currently excluded from access to ordinary bank products. It can become a lifeline for people who may otherwise have to resort to payday loans or doorstep lending which often carry incredibly high interest rates.
However, credit unions can benefit savers and borrowers at all ends of the income ladder, with dividend rates often greater than interest rates offered by High Street banks to their savers.
The NHS Credit Union started life in November 1998 when a group of employees got together to form the Glasgow NHS Employees’ Credit Union. Our first base was the former Southern General Hospital, and in our first year, we attracted 625 members. In those first 12 months, we issued 260 loans with a total value of just over £123,000. The largest single loan was for £2,000.
Since then, the credit union has expanded dramatically, and from our Glasgow office, we now offer a wide range of financial services to more than 15,500 NHS employees and their family members, as well as NHS contractors, across the whole of Scotland and the North of England.
We are owned by our members – and operate solely for their benefit. At the start of this financial year, we had issued loans totalling more than £56million - and our members' savings were almost £15m. Members are now able to access loans of up to £25,000.
The credit union is run by a board of volunteer directors, who oversee a full-time staff of 13 people. We are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.
Our registered name and address is NHS (Scotland and North England) Credit Union Ltd. Pavilion 3B, Moorpark Court, 9 Dava Street, Glasgow, G51 2JA
The Common Bond of the NHS Credit Union determines who can become a member of the organisation.
Full details of the Common Bond can be found here. However, as a quick guide, admission to membership of the NHS Credit Union is restricted to employees of the National Health Service, or contractors working for the NHS in the following areas: Anywhere in Scotland, or in the North West, North East or Yorkshire and Humberside regions of England.
In addition, any individual who is a member of the same household as, and is a relative of, any person who is a member of the credit union and falls directly within a common bond specified above.Find out more
Rather than receive a fixed interest rate on their savings, credit union members share in a dividend payment which is based on the surplus earned by the credit union over the course of the financial year.
The level of dividend is recommended by the board of directors and then agreed at the Annual General Meeting of the credit union, which every member can attend. The level of dividend will usually vary from year to year, depending on how successful the credit union has been.
The dividend agreed by the NHS Credit Union for its last financial year amounted to a total payment of around £117,000 to be shared by the credit union members. Each member received a payment equivalent to 0.8% of their savings over the year to September 30. This compares favourably with standard rates offered to savers by many High Street banks.
Absolutely. Like all major financial institutions, we are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). The FSCS can pay compensation to depositors if an organisation is unable to meet its financial obligations. Find out more about this scheme here.
We are also authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. This means that we meet strict conditions for trading, we are required to submit information on our financial performance to the regulators every three months and our directors and senior staff are vetted by the regulators.
Looking to withdraw some of your savings?
It's very easy for members to withdraw funds from their NHS Credit Union account. You can apply online or via our automated telephone system to make a share withdrawal.
If you simply want to withdraw some funds from your savings you can do so by completing a share withdrawal form. Just log into your account and select the share withdrawal link from the online application form section.
All share withdrawal forms submitted by 2.30pm will be processed on that day, and funds will be sent that same evening by immediate payment to the designated account, and should appear there within 24 hours.
All share withdrawals received on weekends, public or bank holidays, or any other day that the credit union office is closed will be dealt with on the next day that the office is open.
Please note that you should only submit an online share withdrawal request when your savings balance is greater than any outstanding loan balance. Submission of a share withdrawal request does not guarantee payment.
Members must leave a minimum of £5 in your Share1 Regular Savings Account at all times.
Why not take a Secured Loan instead?
Instead of withdrawing your hard earned savings why not consider a Secured Loan, which allows you to keep all your hard-earned savings intact - and enjoy our lowest rate of interest.
Find our more about a Secured Loan with NHS Credit Union.Login to online banking
Personal loans from the NHS Credit Union are available for any purpose be it a new car, an exotic holiday, a lovely wedding, helping with Christmas expenses or home improvements.
There are different types of loan available, with members able to borrow from £500 to £25,000. The key criteria on all our lending is that the member is able to afford the repayments.
All our loans are based on affordability, so as a responsible lender, it is important that we ask you to confirm your income and expenditure. For this reason many loan applicants will be required to send in copies of wage slips and bank statements to show these incomings and outgoings.
This ensures that we do not take unnecessary risks with the credit union’s funds and do not give out loans where we feel it will result in the member getting into financial difficulty. It also means that we can look beyond a member’s credit report to try to help them in every way we can.
A key factor in deciding to approve any unsecured borrowing is that the member can afford the repayments. That decision is based on the HOUSEHOLD income and expenditure, which is why we ask for information about a partner's income
Any loan with the NHS Credit Union is the responsibility of the individual member. Although we may ask for information about a partner's income, that is solely to help ensure that the household income can afford the repayments. A member's partner is NOT liable for loan repayments.