eligible to join Watford Credit Union?
Anyone - as long as they live, work (paid or unpaid), or study within
the WD postcode area and are 16 or over (although members must be 18 or
over to apply for a loan). Under 16's can join as junior savers.
We decided that our C.U. must have a good mix of community based and
local employee based members. The loan and savings rules apply equally
to employee members and community members
excellent service run by
Why a Credit Union for Watford?
- To reinforce community spirit and to promote a
savings ethic amongst non-savers.
- To help and encourage people to save and manage
money. We do not offer "financial advice"
- To make low cost loans available to members. Remember
our loan rate is only 1% per month interest on the decreasing balance.
- To assist those excluded from conventional finance
There are many people who cannot comply with the large financial
institutions credit rules, often through no fault of their own.
Credit Unions do not discriminate due to:
- Race, creed, sex, social standing
- Age or disability
- Past loan history
- Lack of credit record
- Living on income support
- Living in blacklisted areas
- Insecure employment
- Lack of loan history e.g. return from working abroad
Credit Union has helped me
manage my money better, encouraged me to save
has made me feel more in control of my finances.
However as we must look after our members' assets, the granting of
loans has to be business based. We have a Credit Committee that
interviews applicants to assess their credit worthiness and
"trustability", and importantly their ability to repay. Before a loan
is granted members must save regularly with us for 13 weeks. The value
of loans is determined by the WCU Current Loans Policy, the amount of
time the member has belonged to the C.U., any past loans they have had,
and their ability to repay. In line with our community service mandate,
small emergency loans are also available, but they too must follow the
"trustability" and repayment rules.
Given that we are running essentially a members' co¨operative, WCU can
give a better deal than bank loans, Provident cheques and loan sharks.
It is important to note that credit unions are not able to offer
instant relief from poverty, more to encourage financial well being
over a period of time.
Watford Credit Union Loans Policy (summary)
To obtain a loan a member must save regularly for at least thirteen
weeks before a loan application is considered (although this can
possibly be waived in an emergency).
The excess of loan balance over share balance for any member will not
exceed 5% of the Credit Union's total assets.
Members are expected to save while repaying a loan.
The maximum repayment time for any loan is 3 years, but usually it is
less, as agreed with the Credit Committee.
All loans are subject to availability of funds and at the discretion of
the Credit Committee.
The current limits are: Loans - Up to 3x share balance, with an
absolute maximum £5,000 loan.
How Do We Relate To Our Community?
We collect money, process and payout loans, and maintain touch with the
community through community collection points. Some of these operate
from local community centres, churches etc, with opening hours
depending on volunteer numbers and availability. The WCU Registered
Office and collection point is at 59 Clarendon Road, Watford WD17 1LA
We encourage the local community to provide volunteers to staff the
collection points, which enables the local community and the credit
union to get to know each other. The collection points also provide the
primary means of spreading information to members and keeping in touch
with their needs. We will also use payroll deduction where an employer
has agreed to co-operate. We currently have such an agreement with
Watford Council and Watford Community Housing Trust.
The WCU Mission Statement reflects our intent to help our local
community: The mission of the Watford Credit Union Ltd is to provide
accessible savings, loans and insurance benefits for those who live or
work (inc. voluntary work or study) within the WD postcode area. It is
owned and run by its members, in a way that encourages participation
from the community.
The payment of a dividend, if at all, depends on the amount of surplus
money available. Details are decided after the end of each financial
year at the AGM, in the light of a recommendation by the Board of
Directors. By law, the maximum allowable dividend is 8%, but they are
often much less, even zero, especially for new credit unions.
Joining Fee and Minimum Shares
The current joining fee is £1 plus an initial £1 minimum for a share
(savings). The share balance must be brought up to at least £5 within 6
months and must be maintained at no less than this amount.