Let’s talk financial wellbeing

Its Lets Talk Money Week. This year’s theme is financial wellbeing. For us, its timely. Earlier this month the Credit Union was selected as one of the finalists in the Affordable Credit Challenge.

We will be working with our software partner to develop Financial Health Indicators (FHIs).

Covering spending, borrowing and saving, FHIs will be shared with the Credit Union’s borrowers. The indicators will be used to let applicants know how to improve their financial wellbeing which will also increase the chances of getting a loan.

What is financial wellbeing?

Financial wellbeing means feeling secure because you have enough money to meet your needs. That’s needs, not wants. Fast cards and Caribbean holidays might have to wait. Financial wellbeing is about being in control of your day-to-day finances. Having the financial freedom to make choices that allow you to enjoy life is important.

Here are four steps to improve financial wellbeing

 1. Write down your budget

Knowing your essential expenditure and disposable income gives confidence in your decisions. The 50/30/20 rule helps. After paying tax you split what you have left into the three different categories: essentials (needs: 50%), flexible spending (wants: 30%) and financial goals (plans: 20%).

Read more about this excellent budgeting method.

2. Don’t use credit for everyday expenses

9 million adults often use a credit card, overdraft or borrow money to buy food or pay bills because they’re short of money.

Avoid using credit cards to pay for essential ‘needs’. It can be difficult when times are tough and money is short. For this reason, we produce regular money tips. Helping members make the most out of their money, the tips are sent to your inbox and published on our website monthly.

Sign up for Money Tips.

3. Start saving

11.5 million UK adults-that’s 22% of us -have less than £100 in savings. Everyone who borrows from the Credit Union has to save as they repay their loan. Despite living in one of the poorest areas in the country our members have amassed nearly £9m in savings.

To encourage our members to save more, we’ve launched a Credit Union Prize Saver Account. It’s the savings account with monthly prizes of up to £5,000.

We’ve long been aware of the contrast where people on limited incomes buy lottery tickets but don’t manage to save for future needs. Despite the chances of winning the lottery being so remote, people keep playing.

Prize linked savings are an alternative to lotteries, with one key feature; a lottery loss means losing money. Not winning on a prize linked savings account doesn’t cost a penny. All money deposited remains untouched.

Read more and open a Prize Saver account

Want a Christmas present idea? Contact us about our Prize Saver gift voucher.

4. Speak to others about money

A problem aired is a problem shared. Everyone has money worries at some time in their life. A cross generations perspective often helps. We’ve published tips on talking to children and young adults about money as well as talking about money if you are a couple.

We’re a finalist in the affordable credit challenge

Central Liverpool Credit Union is one of six organisations to have won the first round of the Affordable Credit Challenge.

The Affordable Credit Challenge award enables the credit union to build software that will help members make a successful loan application.

Currently when a member is turned down for a loan, we can’t tell them precisely why.

It might be because there are missed payments on other loans. Maybe there’s a recent County Court Judgment. Perhaps there’s just too much debt. In some cases the proposed loan payments aren’t affordable.

To solve this a new mobile app will show borrowers more of the information that’s used to make lending decisions.

About Financial Health Indicators

We know that credit scoring isn’t easy to understand. And, to be honest, it’s not something we particularly like either. Instead we will be working with our software partner to develop Financial Health Indicators (FHIs).

Covering spending, borrowing and saving, FHIs will be shared with the Credit Union’s borrowers. The indicators will be used to let applicants know how to improve their credit profile, increasing the chances of getting a loan.

FHIs will show movement from red through amber to green. Borrowers will be provided with tips, making it more likely that loan decisions move from ‘no’ to ‘yes’. Then, when the lending criteria is likely to be met, a ‘one click’ loan application is sent to your Credit Union.

Helping you budget

As well as credit reference agency information we offer an Open Banking service, enabling members to provide temporary access to a bank account so the Credit Union can retrieve 90 days of bank transactions. We have around 200 members using Open Banking each month.

Read more about how we use Open Banking.

Subsequently, the 90 days of transactions are presented back as an income and expenditure budget using the 50/30/20 rule.

The method is simple. Households split their income into three different categories: essentials (needs: 50%). Flexible spending (wants: 30%). And financial plans (goals: 20%).

Housekeeping, bills and transport fall into the first category. General shopping, restaurants, hotels and holidays are not essential. They’re classified as ‘wants’. Finally, 20% is spent on financial goals. Paying down debt, saving for the future.

Of course, everyone’s spending habits present an opportunity to save money. This information will help borrowers find ways to improve their budget.

Furthermore, all this information will be provided to members free of charge.

Importantly, there will be no obligation to apply for a loan from the app. Its an additional opt-in service. The Credit Union will be providing financial education for its members and helping applicants make better loan decisions.

The app will be ready early next year. We’ll let members know when early access is available.

Get involved

In the meantime, the Credit Union and our software partner – NestEgg, want to hear what you think about our ideas.

We are keen to ensure that the app meets member needs. So we’re looking for feedback on our plans and for members to answer a few survey questions. We’ll give every participant a £10 Marks and Spencer voucher in return for their help which shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours in November and December.

Please complete the form below if you’re able to help.

Credit Union Prize Saver – an opportunity to win £5,000 every month

Central Liverpool Credit Union has launched a Credit Union Prize Saver Account.

The Credit Union Prize Saver is the savings account with monthly prizes.

We’ve long been aware of the contrast where people on limited incomes buy lottery tickets but don’t manage to save for future needs. Despite the chances of winning the lottery being so remote, people keep playing.

Prize linked savings are an alternative to lotteries, with one key feature; a lottery loss means losing money. Not winning on a prize linked savings account doesn’t cost a penny. All money deposited remains untouched.

How it works

The way the PrizeSaver account works is simple: every £1 in a member’s account at the end of each month gives them one automatic entry into the following month’s prize draw, up to £200.

There are 21 prizes up for grabs every month: one headline prize of £5,000, and 20 smaller prizes of £20.

For example, if you have £50 in the account, you have 50 chances of winning. The value of the entries is calculated at the end of each month for the draw that takes place the following month.

So, if you had £25 in the account on 31 January and deposited £5 on the 1 February, you will have 25 entries in the February draw and 30 entries in the March draw.

Like all of our other savings account you can withdraw the money at any time. Deposits attract a dividend and are covered by savings protection insurance.

A pilot programme

The Prize Saver is funded by HM Treasury has agreed to provide a prize draw facility to 15 participating credit unions on a trial basis until April 2021.The prize draw is offered as part of a pilot scheme only. It could be withdrawn at short notice.

It’s an extremely attractive offer. Why put money in a normal savings account and earn next to no interest when you can put your money in an account where you have a chance to win money to buy a new TV?

Before you apply you must read the terms and conditions.

New members click below to open an account:

Existing members who want to open an account, please complete this short form:

Free training courses

The Women’s Organisation is the largest developer and deliverer of training and support for women in the UK.

They offer FREE personal development courses.

Change it: Progress to Success

Looking to boost your confidence and overcome barriers for a positive future? 

‘Change it: Progress to Success’ is helping Liverpool women build their confidence and make the positive changes in their lives that they want.  Whatever age, background or stage of life you are at, this programme will help build a positive future.

It’s FREE and open to all women living in Liverpool. Places are available on these dates:

  • 54 St James Street: Monday 16 September 2019 10am-3pm (4 Sessions)
  • Belle Vale Childrens Centre: Wednesday 25 September 2019, 12:30pm-2:30pm (8 Sessions)
  • Yewtree Childrens Centre, Dovecot: Thursday 26 September 2019, 12:45pm-2:45pm (8 Sessions)

My Turn: 1 day personal development course

A joint initiative with Citizens Advice and RAISE this is a FREE programme  for unemployed men and women looking to boost their confidence for a brighter future.

There are places available across the Liverpool City Region with a free lunch included:

  • 54 St James Street: Thursday 12 September 2019, 10am-3pm
  • St Helens Millennium Centre: Thursday 5 September, 10am-3pm
  • The Venue, Huyton: Monday 9 September 2019, 10am-3pm

Full list of dates available

For more information or to book on contact 0151 706 8111 or [email protected]

Prize Linked Savings Accounts – coming soon!

In 2018 the Government announced it would be piloting a Prize-Linked Savings Scheme for credit unions.

Central Liverpool Credit Union is delighted to announce that it will be one of 15 credit unions piloting this initiative.

We’ve long been aware of the contrast where people on limited incomes buy lottery tickets but don’t manage to save for future needs. Despite the chances of winning the lottery being so remote, people keep playing.

Prize linked savings are an alternative to lotteries, with one key feature; a lottery loss means losing money. Not winning on a prize linked savings account doesn’t cost a penny. All money deposited remains untouched.

It’s an extremely attractive offer. Why put money in a normal savings account and earn next to no interest when you can put your money in an account where you have a chance to win money to buy a new TV?

Any member who joins the the Credit Union for a prize linked savings account will receive the same benefits as other members in relation to dividends, low interest loans and free life and loan insurance.

Register your interest: Prized Linked Savings

If you meet our common bond requirements you can join the waiting list by completing the form below. We’ll let you know as soon as the scheme is up and running.

We work with several employers offering payroll deduction. If you would like to bring Prize Linked Savings to your work force, use the form below to let us know.

I never had savings before joining the Credit Union.  Just a small amount saved regularly soon builds up and it feels good to know I have money set aside for the future or in case of emergency.  I also feel proud that my savings are helping to fund loans in my neighbourhood and helping others to start saving too.

 Paige

Annual General Meeting

NOTICE OF ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

WEDNESDAY 19TH JUNE 2019 AT 5.30PM

If the weather is nice the Annual General Meeting will be held in our garden. If not we’ll hold in in the foyer at Head Office, 141 Park Street, Liverpool L8 6QF.

All our members are invited to the AGM of Central Liverpool Credit Union.

There will be light refreshments after the AGM which starts at 5.30pm, concluding no later than 6.30pm.

Agenda

  1. Agree the Standing Orders for the meeting;
  2. The receipt of the accounts and balance sheet and of the reports of the Board of Directors and the auditor;
  3. The appointment of auditors;
  4. The election or ratification of the Board of Directors;
  5. The application of surplus;

Only members can vote at the AGM.

Please use the form below to tell us if you can attend:

A big thank you to our volunteers

Central Liverpool Credit Union wouldn’t function if it wasn’t for our hard-working volunteers.

In fact, the Credit Union wouldn’t have got off the ground at all without unpaid help. Our founders spent hundreds – if not thousands – of hours planning, training, applying and setting up Central Liverpool Credit Union.

Today our volunteers help us staff our branches and run the office. All of our Directors are unpaid volunteers as well.

It’s human nature to feel good after helping someone out. Volunteering can also help people gain valuable new skills and experiences, boosting confidence.

Over 70% of volunteers would recommend the experience to a friend.

In 2017/18, 20.1 million people in the UK volunteered formally at least once a year. 11.8 million people did so at least once a month.

Our volunteers

At the beginning of June, we celebrate this hard work through volunteers week. Everyone that’s helped us out is invited to our garden party later this week.

And we continue to look for volunteers. We always need help running reception and teller positions.

You don’t need to be retired to help out! Over one third of people aged 16 to 40 volunteer on a regular basis.

If you’re interested in helping your local credit union, contact us. We can’t do it without you!

An introduction to credit scoring

A credit score is a three-digit number that can determine whether a loan application is accepted. Borrowers with lower credit scores are often charged higher rates of interest.

Of course, we don’t do that at Central Liverpool Credit Union. We prefer to see our members as human beings, not numbers. We obtain credit scores, but a low score is not a reason to turn someone down. And we never charge a borrower more because of their score. Past savings and loan repayment histories are more important.

But better scores do help people get better deals on bills, like phones, gas or electricity.

Obtaining your credit report

Credit scores are provided by the three main Credit Reference Agencies, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion (formerly called TransUnion).

Individuals can contact Experian,Equifax, or TransUnion to obtain a copy of their statutory credit report. This, usually free, copy of a credit file is different from the subscription services a borrower can also sign up to. Terms and conditions should be read carefully. Obtaining a more detailed report sometimes comes with monthly fees and marketing from lenders.

The Money Advice Service has produced information about checking your credit report.

There are many factors that determine whether your score is bad, fair, good or excellent. A score can vary from month to month.

We’ve listed five things a borrower can do to improve their score below.

Improving a credit score

Everyone is different. The tips provided below are a general overview of actions an individual can take to improve a credit score. The Money Advice Service also has a guide to improving a credit score.

1.Pay everything on time

Most Credit Reference Agencies report a series of numbers next to a  credit account. An account ‘status’ of ‘0’ shows payments are up to date.  A status of ‘1’ shows that the account is one month in arrears. If you miss several payments in a row, the account might show as a default. Defaults can reduce a credit score significantly.

If credit accounts are paid on time this improves a credit score. Points are deducted for missed payments.

It’s important to note that different kinds of services are considered to be credit accounts, including gas, electricity and mobile phone accounts. Some landlords and water companies might report rent arrears to a Credit Reference Agency. Stopping paying a mobile phone contract can result in a default which significantly harms a credit score.

If lots of payments are missed and a borrower becomes subject to a County Court Judgment, Debt Relief Order, Individual Voluntary Arrangement or bankruptcy the credit score will fall significantly.

2.Have plenty of accounts

Lots of up to date accounts helps. Borrowers managing multiple commitments with payments on different days shows commitment and ability to repay. But beware. Owing too much compared to income might show that a borrower is over-committed. This can then reduce the credit score.

Interestingly if someone has very few accounts, perhaps because they’ve never needed to borrow before, the credit score is unlikely to be very high. This is because there’s no record of them being able to pay a debt back.

3. Only use a small proportion of credit card and overdrafts

A credit score can increase when credit is available but unused. This suggests that a borrower uses credit cards and overdrafts to manage peaks in expenditure, rather than spending on items that they cannot really afford. Borrowers constantly at their limits will see their credit scores fall. For example, a credit card with a limit of £500 and a balance of £50 will help with the score. But a balance of £450 will probably be driving the score down.

4. Re-register on the electoral roll

It is a criminal offence not to register to vote. But rolling registration has made this harder. Voters must register each year. If they don’t, they will drop off the register. The electoral roll is reported to all the Credit Reference Agencies, even if the voter has opted out of the public register. It is used to help prove identity. It shows stability in residency.

You can register to vote online.

5. Stay put; don’t move home, don’t move job

Lenders like stability. Knowing someone is staying where they live make it easier to maintain contact with a debtor. The likelihood of someone running away on their debt reduces. Long residency applies to people renting their home as well as those with mortgages. But people in rented accommodation will rarely have credit scores as good as owner-occupiers.

 

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A guide to alternative funerals

Following our recent guide to alternative weddings, here’s an overview of alternative funerals ideas.

Green and Eco-Friendly Funerals

There are lots of alternatives to choose from, including woodland burials, cardboard, wicker, pandanus, willow, banana leaf or bamboo coffins. Other options include tree pods, burial at sea or in your garden.  However, there are strict rules to be followed.

Non-religious ceremonies 

Registered celebrants can conduct a service in a location that isn’t a church, chapel or crematorium. This might be at home, at a natural burial site or in a hotel. Or even a beach.

 

 

 

 

Unattended or Direct Cremation 

There is no service or ceremony. The deceased is taken directly to the crematorium.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Donate your body to Science

Medical students learn about life-saving surgical techniques when bodies are donated. Furthermore researchers looking for new treatments and cures for diseases also benefit.

Contacting your local university for an application pack is the place to start if you want to donate your body to science.

Cryonic Preservation

Yes, it does exist outside of Hollywood!  Around 150 people have been preserved, hoping they can be woken in the future following advances in medical science to bring them back to life.

 

Plastination 

Gunther Von Hagens is famous for his controversial exhibitions using plastination.  This consists of bodily fluids being replaced with a polymer preserving the body.

However, with each body taking 1,500 hours to complete, plastination is not widely available. Typically, its on a donation basis similar to granting your body to science.

 

 

 

 

We are simplifying our loans

Later this week – and before launching online loan applications – we are simplifying our loan products.

Member loans

We want to reward savers with a reduced rate of interest.

If you’ve been a member of the Credit Union for more than two years AND have more than £500 in savings you can apply for a Member Loan.

You can apply to borrow up to three times your savings balance.

If you need more than three times your savings you should apply for an Opportunity Loan.

Opportunity Loans

You can apply for an Opportunity Loan, regardless of your savings balance or length of membership. New members can apply as they join.

Loans are based on affordability, but as a rule of thumb you can apply to borrow up to one month’s income. We will always take into account your personal circumstances and prior borrowing history.

The interest rate charged depends on the amount you borrow. You can  top up a loan after six months’ payments.

To apply for more than £5,000 you must be a homeowner.

You do not have to use the loan for home improvements. However, if you want to undertake expensive renovations in your home – perhaps to cater for a growing family – then a homeowner loan can help fund this work. Improving your flat or house can also make the property more attractive to potential buyers as well as increasing its value.

Business loans

For members who own businesses needing working capital or help with cashflow. Our business loans are available for sole traders and limited companies, including social enterprises.

We’ll be introducing online applications for business lending later in the year. In the meantime if you want to find out more contact us.