1. CREDIT UNIONS – GENERAL BACKGROUND
What is a credit union?
A credit union is a member-owned financial cooperative, democratically controlled by its members. It is operated for the purpose of promoting thrift, providing credit at competitive rates, and providing other financial services to its members. Credit unions differ from banks and other financial institutions in that those who have accounts in the credit union are its members and owners. Those members and owners elect their board of directors in a one-person-one-vote system regardless of the amount they have invested.
How many credit unions are there in Great Britain?
At the end of 2012 there were 390 credit unions in Great Britain, with a total membership of 1.04 million.
Are there other credit unions in Cumbria?
Yes, there are four other credit unions in Cumbria, each serving their local district – Barrow & District, Carlisle & District, West Cumbria Credit Union (Allerdale, Copeland) and Whitehaven, Egremont & District. For more information on credit unions in Cumbria, visit www.cumbriacreditunions.org.uk.
2. EDEN & SOUTH LAKELAND – GENERAL BACKGROUND
When was Eden & South Lakeland Credit Union established?
Eden & South Lakeland credit union was authorised as a credit union in July 2013, and opened for business in October 2013.The credit union was initially named EdenSave, covering Eden District. With agreement from both sets of members, South Lakeland credit union was taken over by EdenSave in January 2017; the common bond was extended to cover both Eden District and South Lakeland District, and the business name was changed to Eden & South Lakeland Credit Union Limited.
In both districts, groups of local volunteers worked on establishing the credit unions, with strong backing from Cumbria County Council, Eden District Council, South Lakeland District Council, and numerous local organisations. For more general information about Eden & South Lakeland credit union, read about us.
Who runs Eden & South Lakeland Credit Union?
Eden & South Lakeland credit union is run by volunteers. Eden & South Lakeland’s day to day management is overseen by a volunteer Board of Directors who are elected by and from the membership itself. The volunteer Board also sets policies covering interest rates and all other matters. There will be Board elections each year at the Eden & South Lakeland Credit Union Annual General Meeting (AGM) which is usually held in February each year.
How is Eden & South Lakeland Credit Union regulated?
Eden & South Lakeland credit union, like all credit unions in the UK, is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority.
3. JOINING EDEN & SOUTH LAKELAND
Who can join Eden & South Lakeland Credit Union?
Anyone who lives or works in Eden District or South Lakeland District and is at least 16 years old is eligible to become a member, as is a relative of such an eligible person living in the same household. Junior savers who are under 16 years old can make deposits without becoming members.
Can businesses become members of Eden & South Lakeland?
Membership is open to businesses that operate in Eden District or South Lakeland District, and this includes clubs, societies, voluntary organisations etc as well as commercial businesses. Businesses, like individual members, have one vote regardless of the amount they have invested.
How do I join?
Anyone who wants to join needs to fill in and return an application form. Application forms can be downloaded from the credit union website – www.edensouthlakeland.com - or collected from one of our offices. Completed applications should be returned to one of our offices. There is a minimum deposit required on joining of £5. There is a one-off membership fee of £2 which will be deducted from your initial deposit. When you join you will need to provide documents that confirm your name and address .
How old do I have to be to open an account?
You have to be at least 16 years old to become a member of the credit union, open an account and have a vote as a member.
What about Junior Saver’s accounts – do you offer them?
Junior savers who would otherwise be eligible to become members but are under 16 years old can open a Junior Savers account and make deposits with the credit union, and will then convert to full membership at age 16.
Where does Eden & South Lakeland Credit Union have branches and what are your opening hours?
Please see our offices and opening times page for the latest full details.
What do members have to do?
Members can save with the credit union and apply for a loan from the credit union. There are also volunteering opportunities with the credit union, and the chance to participate in the decision making of the credit union through eg joining a committee or attending a general meeting.
Are there fees to be paid – joining fee? annual fee?
There is a joining fee of £2. This joining fee will be deducted when you make your initial deposit. There are no annual fees.
Can I talk to someone and find out more?
The staff at our Penrith office are always available during opening hours to respond to queries and tell people more about Eden & South Lakeland credit union. Alternatively, ring our Penrith office on 01768 890065 during opening hours.
I’ve got a bank account – why do I need to join the credit union? Is it the same?
Eden & South Lakeland credit union is not the same as a bank – it is a savings and loans not-for-profit co-operative, run by local people for local people. If you have a bank account already, you can support your local co-operative by joining Eden & South Lakeland credit union, and this will give you access to a wider range of savings and loans options. It will also help the local community by enabling Eden & South Lakeland credit union to make loans to people who live locally and need them.
4. SAVING WITH EDEN & SOUTH LAKELAND
Is there a minimum amount I must put in to open an account?
The minimum deposit to open an account is £5. A one-off membership fee of £2 is charged.
After that there are some minimum amounts that have been set to keep down Eden & South Lakeland credit union’s administration costs – for instance, members must maintain a minimum balance of £3, and the minimum amount that can be withdrawn or deposited is £1.
Do I pay money into my account in cash – can I do an online transfer?
Money can be paid in as cash, or can be paid in by cheque or online transfer from a bank account. You can also arrange to pay into your account by standing order.
What interest will I earn on my savings and when will it be paid?
Eden & South Lakeland credit union does not pay interest on savings. Instead, if the credit union makes a surplus in the year, the Board of Directors will recommend to the membership how much of that surplus can be distributed to members as a dividend on their shareholding. The members will vote on the recommendation at the Annual General Meeting following the end of that year. The relevant “year” for assessing surplus and dividend is the 12 months ending 30th September (the “financial year”), and the Annual General Meeting will be held by March 31st of the following year.
Is there a maximum limit on the amount of money I can have in my account?
The maximum that any one individual can hold in their Eden & South Lakeland credit union account is £10,000.
Will my money be safe with Eden & South Lakeland Credit Union?
Yes. Money saved with Eden & South Lakeland credit union is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which is the same statutory fund that covers deposits in High Street banks. For more information about the FSCS, visit www.fscs.org.uk. Please read the FSCS compensation booklet.
How do I withdraw money from my account?
You can make a cash withdrawal on demand of up to £100 per day at the Penrith office, providing there is sufficient money in your account. Money can also be withdrawn by requesting a transfer to a bank account, or to a pre-paid card (a 50p/transaction charge may apply on pre-paid cards), or by cheque.
Can I withdraw any amount at any time or do I have to give notice?
Cash withdrawals of greater than £100 will require notice to be given. Larger amounts can be withdrawn by bank transfer - we have a range of notice periods linked to the size of withdrawal (£1 - £200 7 days, £201 - £500 14 days, £501 - £1000 28 days, £1011 - £5000 60 days) . These are maximum periods, and usually withdrawals can be made at much less notice, but the money may take up to two days to reach your account.
Are there charges for withdrawing money from my account?
No, there are no withdrawal charges made by Eden & South Lakeland credit union.
Will I have a passbook?
Passbooks will not be issued – receipts will be issued for deposits and withdrawals.
Will I get a monthly statement?
Monthly statements will not be issued . Members will receive a statement at least once a year and can request a mini-statement at any time.
How do I know how much money is in my account?
An account balance can be requested at any time.
Can I manage my credit union account online?
Not initially, though this is a service we aim to introduce at some time in the future.
Will I get a debit card with my account?
No, we have no plans to provide debit cards for now.
Can I get a prepaid card?
Eden & South Lakeland has no plans to offer the option of a prepaid card.
Can I open a joint account with someone else?
No, for the moment we are only offering individual accounts.
5. JUNIOR SAVERS
How old does a Junior Saver have to be to open a Junior Saver’s account?
There is no minimum age. Anyone who would otherwise be eligible to become member but is under 16 years old can open a junior savers account.
What fees are charged on a Junior Saver’s account?
There is no opening fee or any other fee charged on a Junior Saver’s account.
Can a parent or grandparent open an account for a child/grandchild?
Who can pay in to and withdraw from a Junior Saver’s account?
Anyone can pay in to a Junior Saver's account, but only an adult nominated at the time the account was opened may withdraw money from the account. The minimum balance allowed is £1.
What interest is paid on a Junior Saver’s account?
Interest will be paid on a Junior Saver’s account annually in arrears, as a Junior Saver cannot be a full member so is not entitled to a share of any dividend paid. The current rate of interest is 1% per year.
Can a Junior Saver get a loan?
No, only full members can apply for a loan.
6. BORROWING FROM EDEN & SOUTH LAKELAND CREDIT UNION
How can I get a loan from the credit union?
You need to complete and return an application form, which can be downloaded from the website or collected from one of our offices.
Can my small business, club or organisation get a loan?
Yes - see the corporate members section below.
How much can I borrow? Is there a maximum?
Answer being updated
What types of loan does Eden & South Lakeland Credit Union offer? Do I have to save before I can borrow?
Please see our loans page.
Can I get a mortgage from Eden & South Lakeland?
No, Eden & South Lakeland credit union is not able to offer a mortgage.
What interest will I pay on a loan? Are there fees as well?
Please see our loans page.
How does the cost of a loan from Eden & South Lakeland Credit Union compare with others?
Eden & South Lakeland credit union loan costs will be much lower than typical loan costs from “doorstep” or “pay day” lenders. The credit union’s maximum APR (annual percentage rate) is 42.58%. This compares with APRs of 200% and sometimes much more charged by doorstep lenders, and APRs of 1000% and more charged by some short-term (pay day) lenders.
Who decides whether or not I can have a loan?
Your application for a loan will be reviewed by a loans officer, who may arrange a face-to-face interview to check through with you the information you have given in your application. The decision will be made by Eden & South Lakeland’s Credit Committee.
Do I have to give a lot of information to get a loan?
You will need to give information to establish your identity, your credit history, and your income and outgoings so that an assessment can be made of your ability to maintain repayments on the loan you have applied for. The information Eden & South Lakeland credit union requires is specified on the application form.
How quickly can I get a loan – is it a long process?
Normally, a loan decision can be made within 7 days of submitting a completed application.
How long will I have to repay any loan?
Answer being updated
What happens if I want to pay back my loan early? Are there fees to pay?
Early repayments can be made at any time. There are no fees or other charges for early repayment.
What happens if I’m not able to make loan repayments? Can I get an extension?
You should contact Eden & South Lakeland credit union as soon as you think you may not be able to maintain loan repayments. Eden & South Lakeland will let you know whether or not an extension can be made in your circumstances.
Can I take out a second loan before I’ve repaid the first?
No, this is not possible. Eden & South Lakeland credit union requires an outstanding loan to be repaid before a second loan is taken out.
Can I use an Eden & South Lakeland credit union loan to pay back another loan?
Yes. The key concern is your ability to repay any loan made to you.
I’ve heard that Eden & South Lakeland credit union loans are covered by insurance – what does this mean?
Eden & South Lakeland has taken out insurance so that in the event of your death while the loan is outstanding, the outstanding loan repayment is covered by insurance and is not a burden on your estate. The insurance only covers people under 70 years of age and only applies if the outstanding loan amount is £5,000 or less.
7. CORPORATE MEMBERS
I’ve heard that an organisation or business can join – how does that work?
Membership is open to businesses that operate in Eden District or South Lakeland District, and this includes clubs, societies, voluntary organisations etc as well as commercial businesses. There is a separate application form for corporate members.
Can my small business, club or organisation get a loan?
Yes, Eden & South Lakeland credit union offers loans of up to £7,500 to small businesses, clubs and organisations. This could be a bridging loan to help cover your costs before a grant is received, or it could be a loan to a small business that can be repaid out of sales.
The interest rate will be between 0.75% and 1.5% per month depending on circumstances (between 9.38% and 19.6% APR).
Please contact us on 01768 890065 for more details. We will provide illustrative repayments and interest rates when you provide us with details of the requested loan.
Can a club have a credit union account instead of a bank account?
Yes, though the club should check before closing any bank account that the services offered by Eden & South Lakeland will cover their needs. An Eden & South Lakeland account can be opened as well as a bank account.
Do the same saving and loan conditions apply to corporate members?
Slightly different conditions apply – please ask for details.
8. OTHER EDEN & SOUTH LAKELAND SERVICES/INVOLVEMENT
Will Eden & South Lakeland Credit Union give me financial advice?
Eden & South Lakeland credit union is keen to provide support wherever possible to members, and will signpost you to sources of financial advice – please ask at our Penrith office. For online impartial advice on money matters, visit the Government backed website www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en.
If I’ve got a complaint, how do I complain?
We aim to provide a professional and friendly service to our members, however we appreciate that mistakes can happen and we welcome the opportunity to put things right. If you have a complaint, please let us know. We have complaint forms in our offices – please ask for one and fill it in. You have the right to refer complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service (for more information visit www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk) if you remain dissatisfied with our response.
How can I volunteer to be more involved with the credit union?
Yes! We depend on volunteers; we usually have lots of volunteering opportunities and are keen to recruit new volunteers. No previous experience is required – we provide training. Please ask at our Penrith office for details of current opportunities - or by email, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.