Lincolnshire Credit Union Blog

Community news and information

Local support groups given a huge boost

Date added - 09 Apr 2019

'Financial wellbeing groups will benefit from extra support thanks to more than £147,000 raised through Lincolnshire Co-op’s Community Champions scheme.

Several groups received a share of the total including Lincolnshire Credit Union (£13,598), local Citizens Advice branches (together receiving more than £93,000), Acts Trust Debt Advice based in Lincoln (£8,766), Age UK Lincoln and South Lincolnshire (£14,691) and more.

The six-figure sum will help bolster each groups’ work as they care for those who are financially disadvantaged.

The Community Champions scheme is one-way Lincolnshire Co-op’s gives back to the local community. Since it was launched in 2013, it’s helped hundreds of local charities and community groups each year raising amounts from £200 to over £200,000.

Lincolnshire Co-op’s Senior Community and Education Co-ordinator Ben James said: “‘The financial groups do an excellent job. It could be by tackling issues like debt and payday loans, encouraging safe borrowing or helping people access the money they’re entitled to – these groups help in all sorts of ways.

“Debt and financial worry can affect anyone, and we hope that with these funds even more people can get support with money worries.”

Acts Trust is a Lincoln-based charity founded by Alive Church and has a goal to eliminate poverty in the city.

Chief Executive of Acts Trust Simon Hoare said: “The money that has been raised by Lincolnshire Co-op has enabled us to provide one-to-one debt advice in Lincoln, free to the service user and in their own home.

"This is such an important service as many people find themselves burdened by unmanageable debt, unable to see a way out. We can offer them hope and a solution.

“Thank you to Lincolnshire Co-op and their customers for working hard to ensure this great service will be made available to those most in need in the city.”

Lincolnshire Credit Union is a local community focused savings and loans provider. They recently extended its business area and the money raised will help them to reach more people.

Chief Executive Officer at Lincolnshire Credit Union Sarah Moseley said: “We are thrilled to have received this funding from Lincolnshire Co-op as one of its Community Champions.

“We’ve recently expanded our geographical area and now cover the whole of Greater Lincolnshire. The funds will help us invest in digital enhancements to improve accessibility for our current members and make it easier for new members to join.

“These enhancements will save time, so our staff can provide more much needed responsible lending and financial support for some of the most vulnerable people across the county.”

More than 167,000 members raised the total by shopping in Lincolnshire Co-op stores throughout winter. A donation was made each time a member shopped using their dividend card.'

To read more, follow the link to the Lincolnshire Coop's original press release: https://www.lincolnshire.coop/news-and-blogs/local-support-groups-given-huge-boost

Annual Newsletter

Date added - 16 Jan 2019

Click here to read the annual newsletter

Let's Talk Energy Fund

Date added - 14 Jan 2019

The Let’s Talk Energy Fund will be open to customers of any supplier from 2nd January 2019.

This Fund has been set up to assist households in energy debt, in need of energy efficiency white goods or boiler replacement/repairs. Funding has been provided by energy companies as part of their commitment to help with energy bills and usage.

Applications can only be made online. Individuals should visit https://fund.lets-talk.online/ to complete a short application form. Please encourage all Applicants may like to upload evidence once their application has been submitted, in order to speed up the assessment process.

To be eligible for assistance from the Let’s Talk Energy Fund you must be in receipt of one of the following:
• Pension Credit (guarantee or savings)
• Child Tax Credit
• Working Tax Credit
• Income Support
• Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance
• Income-related Employment Support Allowance
• Universal Credit, or
• Have a gross annual household income (before tax and deductions) of less than £16,190.

Applicants will also have a chance to apply for a Let’s Talk LED Smart Bulb, which stays on when the power goes off!


Download your Lincolnshire Credit Union mobile app

Date added - 04 Oct 2018

We are delighted to announce that the Lincolnshire Credit Union mobile app is now available for Android and iOS.

Type 'Lincolnshire Credit Union' on Google Play or Play Store and download it.

With the app you'll be able to:

✅ See your account balance
✅ Request a withdrawal
✅ Apply for a loan
✅ Send us a secure message
✅ Update your personal details
✅ Add and remove Bank accounts
✅ Update your marketing preferences
✅ Close your account

Know the signs of scam mail before they rip-off your loved ones

Date added - 30 Mar 2016

Scam mail is affecting thousands of Lincolnshire residents and it is essential that we know the signs to help the vulnerable. According to the National Trading Standards 1,674 victims of scam mail have been identified in Lincolnshire alone. These victims can be anyone but often these scammers will target the vulnerable, elderly generation of people aged 70 years and older.

Scam mail can come in any shape and size promising money, health cures and even the services of spiritual mediums predicting your future. These promises can be very persuasive to some people and the scam mail they receive can look very authentic and official. People respond to these scams to get a financial gift for their family or if they are experiencing financial hardship. These people are specifically targeted by these scammers because of their vulnerability; they do this through a ‘sucker list’.

The National Trading Standards team has so far identified nearly 200,000 victims whose name appears on this ‘suckers list’ used by scammers. This list is shared and traded between the fraudsters who have identified easy targets for criminals to extract money. Once someone engages with scam mail the chances of them receiving more increases rapidly. If you respond to a scam you are likely to receive up to 32 more items of scam mail per day.

One case study provided by the Lincolnshire County Council states:

Mrs M is a 92 year old Lincoln lady. She has been responding to scam mail for over 13 years. The scale of her financial loss is enormous. Her son estimates she has given away in the region of £20,000, which includes her savings. Her children have tried hard to help her understand that this is the work of fraudsters. In spite of their efforts they have failed which, has caused family estrangement. Mrs M received approximately 8 – 10 pieces of scam mail a day and sends in the region of £100 - £200 per week.


So how can we combat these criminals and how can we help the vulnerable who are being targeted?
There are some obvious signs when someone is engaging with scam mail.

Although lots of people will be keeping it a secret you should be on the lookout for:
• Large amounts of post everyday
• Phone calls promising cheques will be delivered
• Many letters waiting to be posted.
• Cheque book stubs with acronyms and empty cheque books
• Lots of low value items such as cosmetics, biscuits and vitamins

If you suspect someone is a victim of scam mail it’s important to alert Lincolnshire Trading Standards as soon as possible. You can fill out an online reporting form at www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/tradingstandards or you can phone Citizens Advice on 03454 045006.

For more information or for further financial advice you can call the credit union on 01522 873550 or you can visit our website at http://www.lincscreditunion.org.uk/.

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 - reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk 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.