What is a Credit Union?


News story

Credit unions, although not widely known are the fastest growing alternative to banks, building societies and doorstep/payday lenders. The aim is to help you take control of your money by encouraging you to save when you can and borrow only what you can afford to repay. Profits made by credit unions are used to reward the members, and not pay shareholders or big bonuses unlike the banks and other lending business.
At Eastern Savings & Loans Credit Union we offer a range of loans, savings accounts and a current account facility.

Credit unions are for everyone.
You are more than a member, you are a part owner. All credit unions are owned and controlled by its members, who use their services. Your vote counts, you can become involved in decision-making by attending AGM’s or other member meetings. The volunteer board of directors is elected by the members to manage the credit union. Each member’s ideas and opinions are valued equally no matter how much or how little they have in savings. Credit Unions operate to promote the financial well-being of its members. Profits made are returned back to members in the form of lower loan rates, reduced fees and a dividend on their savings.

What type of savings accounts do they do?
All credit unions are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and also covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Our savings account is ultra- flexible allowing you to save large or small amounts weekly, monthly or whenever you can. You can make deposits via standing order, in branch or via Pay Point locations. You can even save directly from your wages.
This account also includes built in life insurance, this means that if you die your savings are doubled and can be paid to a person you specify, (subject to certain terms and conditions).

Are credit unions just for people who are struggling financially?
No, credit unions are willing to offer small loans from £100 - £3,000 which most high street banks will not do. Credit unions are a welcome alternative to payday loans, or doorstep lenders. All credit unions only offer loans to their members. The interest rates vary depending on the loan amount and each person’s personal circumstances. However, they are considerably less than many short-term loans, including payday loans. At ESLCU we get the money to you the same day we receive your loan agreement. There are added benefits too, with no charges for early repayments, and the free life insurance covers your loan too, so if you die you loan is fully repaid, (subject to certain terms and conditions.

Do credit unions offer other products?
Some credit unions offer a current account facility, it operates very much like a bank account. You can have your salary paid in, set up direct debits and standing orders from the account, take out money at cash machines, and use the debit card in shops and online. Most credit unions will charge you for the account. This is the cover costs as they are not-for-profit entities. At Eastern Savings & Loans we charge £2 per month. The account also comes with Cashback Rewards at a range of national retailers and many members receive more in rewards each month than the account costs.
At ESLCU we also have online and telephone banking services, online loan applications, a Christmas savings club and children’s savings accounts. Our website has more information on all our products and services www.eslcu.co.uk.

You can find out more information about Credit Unions in the UK via the Find Your Credit Union Website, the Money Advice Service or Citizen Advice.