Lincolnshire Credit Union Blog

Community news and information

Merger between Lincolnshire and Nottingham Credit Union

Date added - 13 Aug 2020

Following a year of careful planning, the transfer of undertakings between Lincolnshire Credit Union and Nottingham Credit Union is complete. Nottingham Credit Union will now trade as “The Notts & Lincs Credit Union”

Originally scheduled for earlier this year, Covid19 delayed the merger and it may be some weeks before full integration happens.

For more on this click here

Over the coming weeks we will keep our members fully informed of any changes.

Important information for our members

Date added - 07 Jul 2020

At the recent Lincolnshire Credit Union AGM, members agreed to a merger with Nottingham Credit Union. We will merge on 31st July.

There will be some changes and we will post updates here and contact members with more information in due course.

We will close early on Friday 31st July, and we will reopen on Monday 3rd August as The Notts and Lincs Credit Union.

The Benefits of Saving Regularly

Date added - 14 Feb 2020

Something that has been pushed recently is having savings accounts. Which might seem like a little bit of a hassle when it comes to having more bank accounts to keep track of. However having a separate account for savings can be very beneficial, having a dedicated savings account can help to put it aside and not dipping into your savings without a second thought.

We thought about pointing out a few of the top benefits of having a savings account.

Emergency Funds
Let's say it later in the month and there is still a bit of time till your next payday comes in and you have a problem that leads to unexpected funds being needed; for example, your washer breaks or your car needs repairs.

Without having savings this could be a big amount of money that you just don’t have, yes you could try taking out a loan but by having even some savings this unexpected cost could be reduced or covered.

Rainy Day Funds
Another benefit of saving is having that extra money if you want to do something like go on a family holiday or buy a new gadget or toy. By building up some savings you have the extra amount to spend when you want to treat yourself or your family.

Big Spend Days
During certain times of the year you know there are going to be days or weeks where you're just going to spend more money than normal, this could be on Birthdays or Anniversary’s or for special events. By building up some savings you are going to be less affected for the rest of the month then if you had to budget out of your normal payday.

It all adds up
By saving regularly and not touching your savings account it can really build up. People can be surprised at how much can add up by saving £25 a month over the cores of a year or two.

Tips on how to start saving - Part One

Date added - 07 Feb 2020

One of the hardest things is starting to save money especially if you’re living from pay check to pay check. Lincolnshire Credit Union wants to help people start saving money. We know that everyone has a different relationship with money and how we spend or save, so we put together a range of different ways that could help organise and budget your money.

Let’s start with the basics.
These are a range of tips to help budget and organise your spending and saving from month to month.

Make sure your bills are paid first.
Get the most important things out the way; this can be paying bills, loans, buying food or putting aside money for important things like appointments. After paying or putting aside the important amounts, you then know how much it is you have left to play with for the rest of the month.

Plan to save
Once you have paid the important things, you can then put some money into your savings, if you then start counting your savings like it’s a bill you are more likely to put aside the money into your savings. Then trying to add to your savings when you receive it rather than at the end of the month this means you’re more likely to stick to the amount you want and not spending it because it’s there. Set a goal or target to reach by the end of the month or year, by setting a target amount or goal item to save for, having a set goal will help your mind-set of having a purpose of saving, whether this is to save for a rainy day or emergency fund or a holiday.

Track your spending
By simply tracking (writing it in a notebook) and analysing what you are spending your money on can help pick up on what you’re spending your money on that might not be necessary and what areas could be improved upon. Tracking your money can highlight areas in which you can make simple changes to that can reduce your spending and help in the long run.

Starting Small
By starting small you can get into the habit of saving money without having to completely change your spending habits. By simply saving £5 a week it adds up. By putting £5 a week into a savings account that’s £260 a year. By starting with smaller amounts in your savings you’re getting used to changing how you spend and what you spend your money on, when you start organising your finances you will able to start spending less and saving more.

Having savings can help in a number of ways, having it as a fall back in case there is an unexpected expense that you need the money for or having the extra money if you know you’re going to spend more in a month with Christmas or birthdays or other events. Having even a small amount of money to fall back on can help you feel a little more financially secure.

How to spot nasty loan shark thugs before they take your money

Date added - 16 Feb 2016

The extra spending we do around the start of the year can be costly for some so you could be forgiven for looking for that little bit extra to get you through the next coming months. According to figures published by the Bank of England, borrowing has surged by 8.3% over the year past year, the sharpest rise since February 2006 - two years before the financial crisis hit.

While obtaining a loan can provide a short term solution the dangers of becoming victim to loan sharks is on the rise. More and more loan sharks are looking for their next victim especially at the beginning of the New Year. Loan sharks will start off being friendly and if you keep your repayments up they will stay that way. However, even if you do, the money you borrow will come at a high price.

The interest on these loans can often be incorrect and could even be changed to a higher percentage without you knowing. You pay far more in interest than you would through any legal borrowing. One woman who borrowed £500 ended up repaying up to a massive £88,000! Some loan sharks have even attempted to charge interest rates as high as 719,000%. Failing to meet your repayments could lead you to being harassed by the loan sharks and you could be pressured into borrowing more money to repay one debt with another.

Loan sharks cause misery to people in financial difficulties and everyone around them. Some may be harder to spot than others but always be on the lookout for these signs:
• They will provide little or no paperwork, such as a licence, credit agreement or record of payments
• It’s likely they will increase the debt or add additional amounts to it without your permission
• Many will refuse to give information, such as the interest rate or how much you still owe
• You can expect them to want items for security such as, passports, bank cards or driving licences
• They will not allow you to settle your debt
• In an attempt to get their money from you they will get nasty – they may resort to intimidation, threats or violence
To prevent this happening to you always make sure that the lender you are using is legitimate. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) keeps details of all licensed lenders, as well as everyone who has applied for a licence or has had one taken away or suspended. If a lender isn’t listed as having a current licence or has been refused one, don’t borrow money from them and don’t let them come into your home.

With many loan sharks now turning to imitation to get their cash laws have been set up to stop them doing this. Any lender (licensed or unlicensed) who harasses you or threatens you with violence is breaking the law. Some loan sharks will threaten you by saying you will be prosecuted and even sent to prison if you don’t pay up. This can’t happen. An unlicensed lender such as a loan shark has no legal right to recover the debt. They even have no legal right to make you pay the loan back at all – because the loan is illegal.

When you think you have spotted a loan shark you must report them as soon as possible and if you’re in immediate danger should ring the police. To report a loan shark you can contact the Illegal Money Lending Team via their email - or phone the 24/7 phone service on 03005 552222.

There are always alternatives to loan sharks and you don’t have to put up with the stress and anxiety they cause. If you’re on a low income or you need to improve your credit rating and you need a small loan for a short time, look into credit unions. They offer low-interest loans and secure savings.

A beginners guide to credit unions and how best to use them

Date added - 20 Jan 2016

Did you know that in Ireland around 75% of the population is a member of a credit union? This is compared to only 3% of the whole UK population being a member which has even doubled in membership over the past few years. So what are we missing out on and what benefits can you get by becoming a credit union member?

Traditionally, credit unions are a small, non-profit organisation set up by members with something in common to benefit their community. That common factor could be working in the same organisation, living in the same area or belonging to the same trade union. Credit unions in the UK mainly focus on providing a service to their communities such as the Lincolnshire Credit Union which only provides membership to those living or working in the Lincolnshire area.

Credit unions were created to provide a secure and ethical financial community. There’s no profit for third-party shareholders and the members of the credit union are the ones that decide how it is run. They are not a bank but they do offer services similar to one. They offer several different saving accounts and if you need that extra bit of cash it’s worth checking it out due to the willingness to make small loans of £100 to £7,500.

But can you trust a small organisation with your money? Definitely! Credit unions are authorised by the ‘Prudential Regulation Authority’ and are regulated by the ‘Financial Conduct Authority’. Anyone who becomes a member of the credit union will find their savings are safeguarded by the ‘Financial Services Compensation Scheme’.

The aim of a credit union is to reassure its members to take control of their money by encouraging them to save what they can and borrowing only what they can realistically afford. The credit union only works in a non-profit system so the cash it uses is only used to run the services and reward the members, and not to pay outside shareholders, like most other financial institutions.

There are several ways you can use the services of a credit union to your advantage. A ‘share account’ is the most common account; it’s essentially a savings account where you can place your money in without it ever being touched by someone else. They are largely flexible allowing you to save large sums weekly, monthly or whenever you can.

Credit unions don’t have interest rates but instead they have dividend rates. A dividend rate doesn’t rely on the financial climate of the markets but solely relies on how well the credit union is doing that year. Typically, dividend rates are 1-3%, but it could be as high as 8% of the sum saved.

Arguably the biggest incentive for people to join a credit union is their willingness to offer small loans of £100 to £7,500, which most high-street banks won’t do. They're a much cheaper alternative to payday loans and far less risky. Some credit unions can even get cash to you the same day. They are always willing to help those in need and regardless of your credit history they are always open to helping you out.

Joining a credit union is a low-risk, safe, ethical and smart way to organise your finances. At the Lincolnshire Credit Union you can give us a call on 01522 873550 if you have any questions about becoming a member. Alternatively you can check out our website and see what service suits you. Our aim is to provide access to reasonably priced financial services to everyone living or working within the boundaries of Lincolnshire.