Here you will find all the latest news from Clackmannanshire Credit Union
Clacks Credit Union Rises to Covid-19 Challenge
Clackmannanshire Credit Union reopened its doors at 8 Bank Street, Alloa on July 22. During lockdown the volunteer-run Credit Union invested in new technology and underwent training to offer new online services to its members, including the capacity to apply for membership and loans, and make bank transfers. At a time of uncertain and restricted social contact, this means members now have the convenience of making withdrawals without having to go to the office.
Sean McGarvey, the Credit Union president said, “During a difficult time we have done our best to keep in touch with members and ensure we helped as much as possible with issues of financial management. Since reopening it has been particularly heartened to hear members express their appreciation”. He added, “The following feedback from one member is in keeping with comments we have received over the lockdown”.
“I cannot praise and recommend Clackmannanshire Credit Union enough. They have supported me throughout various difficult and financially trying times since I started saving with them from their start. More specifically through this latest predicament with Covid-19 and without their support and understanding I would be in far worse straits than I am. I would encourage everyone to join a Credit Union and support their local community.”
Mr McGarvey went on to describe the new arrangements introduced for the office reopening, “We are of course applying government requirements for the safety of volunteers and members. Everyone is expected to wear a face covering, because of space restrictions, only one member at a time can enter the premises and we are particularly vigilant in cleaning. It is however, good to be back.”
The office is open from 10 – 12 on Monday and Wednesday mornings and on Friday afternoon between 1.30 and 3.30 for appointments only. Members or prospective members who wish to make an appointment should email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01259 214200 during office hours.
Clackmannanshire Credit Union Office Re-opens on Wednesday 22 July 2020
The Credit Union office will reopen for business on Wednesday 22 July. A spokesperson for the Credit Union said, “We are delighted to announce we will be open for transactions on Wednesday 22 July from 10am – 12 noon in our office at 8 Bank Street, Alloa. The following week, the office will be open on Monday 27 July and Wednesday 29 July and on Mondays and Wednesdays thereafter. On Fridays we will be open for appointments only between 1.30pm and 3.30pm. Members or prospective members who wish to make an appointment should email email@example.com or telephone 01259 214200 during office hours”.
For the safety of volunteers and members, the Credit Union will be taking all appropriate precautions, for example, only one member at a time will be able to enter the office, and everyone will be expected to wear a protective face covering and observe physical distancing.
In summary, the office will be open on Wednesday 22 July from 10 -12 noon and on Friday 24 July by appointment only, then on Monday 27 July from 10 -12 noon and Wednesday 29 July OPEN 10 – 12 Friday 31 July by appointment only. Office opening hours will follow the same pattern thereafter until further notice.
All members are asked to observe the official guidelines to stay safe and healthy.
Office Appointments Available from Friday 3 July 2020
At Clackmannanshire Credit Union we have taken steps to protect volunteers and members during the current and ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Volunteers are currently working from home, ensuring transactions are taking place, communicating with members and ensuring members’ requirements are being met.
Many members are using electronic options for transactions but for those not familiar or resourced for these systems, the Credit Union will offer a very limited office appointment service. With the health of members and volunteers in mind, this will be on a strictly appointment only basis and will be limited to transactions such as small loan applications, emergency access to savings and the completing of bank transfer mandates.
Members requiring the office appointment service are invited to contact the Credit Union firstname.lastname@example.org or between 10am – 12 noon on Monday or Wednesday mornings on 0782 605 9603 (please note: this number is only available on Monday or Wednesday mornings) to discuss and arrange an appointment. The service will be available between 1.30 and 3.30 on Friday afternoons, beginning on Friday 3 July and we hope this will be the first step in being able to move towards increased office opening.
Online Loan Applications Available from 12 June 2020
In ongoing improvements to the Credit Union’s services, we are now able to accept loan applications online. The processes for online loan applications are new but we hope you will find them straightforward.
Please note that applications must be made from an email address that is registered on our system. If you have changed your email address or have never registered it with us, contact us and we will send you a form to amend and verify that information.
If you wish to apply for an Unsecured loan:
- Please send us an email requesting a loan.
- We would then send you a form, via “Signable” (a secure electronic signature application) for you to complete. Once the form is completed it returns automatically to us.
- Once we receive your application we would send you an email with a link to take you to “AccountScore”, “Consents.online”. This is an Open Banking app. By following the instructions, and by giving your permission, details of your bank account would be shared with us. We need this information to ensure that your application meets our affordability criteria. AccountScore uses bank-level security to safeguard your data.
- Once we receive the bank details, the loan committee would meet to decide your application. Loan decisions will be made on a Wednesday, after 11.30am.
- If your application is successful, we would send you a loan agreement to sign and date. Once signed it automatically returns to us.
- The loan proceeds will be paid directly to the bank account that you shared with us.
If you wish to apply for a Secured loan the process would be similar except that, if you have already completed a bank transfer mandate, we would not require a bank account to be shared and the loan committee would not be needed as Secure Loan applications are automatically successful i.e. points 3 and 4 above would not apply.
If you have any questions or experience difficulty in completing applications, please contact us by email at email@example.com
Planning for the Future, May 2020
Your credit union’s office has now been closed for the longest period since the credit union was founded in 1997. Despite this, much of the work of the credit union continues as normal because:-
- Most members continue to save and make payments to their loans by using Standing Orders or Faster Payment Instructions via their bank
- Many members have completed bank transfer mandates and can withdraw savings via an email request
- Members can contact us, preferably by email, to discuss financial problems they might be experiencing
The current situation is less than satisfactory, however, so your Board of Directors have been investigating a number of financial technologies that should allow members to conduct business without the need for a visit to the office.
During the week beginning 18/05/20, volunteers will start training on a new computer system which we had planned to introduce by July 2020. Contracts for this have already been signed and although the timetable might be affected by the Coronavirus crisis, the new system will be introduced as soon as possible. This change from our current American computer system to a Scottish system will allow us to offer additional services to members and make the credit union much more accessible.
Within the next two weeks we should have measures in place that will allow members to apply for loans online. The entire process will be conducted using email and an Open Banking app. The loan agreement will be signed electronically so a visit the office, even if it was open, would not be necessary.
We hope to soon have the ability to accept membership applications via email. We are still bound by money laundering legislation so this is dependent on us acquiring the technology that would allow us to verify a potential member’s identity and address. Keep an eye on our Facebook page and website for further developments.
Coronavirus has presented your credit union with a huge challenge but we intend that Clackmannanshire Credit Union will emerge from that crisis with a much greater range of services for members than when the crisis began.
Top 5 tips for improving your finances in 2020
Over the next few weeks we will look at each item in more depth but for now here is our top 5 tips for good financial health in 2020.
- Check your credit score
- Switch your bank account
- Get on top of credit card debt
- Stop unused direct debits
- Shop around and haggle
Whilst these may seem like common sense things to do, when was the last time you actually took time to review the your financial position and make sure you are getting the best deals around? Start with checking your credit score because this controls your access to better financial products. A poor credit score means you will not be offered lower rates or could even be turned down altogether.
Our annual general meeting will take place on Monday 16th March 2020 at 6pm at CTSI offices in Burgh Mew, Alloa FK10 1HS.
This is your opportunity to have your say on how your credit union is run and to shape the way forward. We would encourage all members to attend. We want to tell you about all the exciting plans the Board of Directors have for the coming year and to hear your views.