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NewsResponsible lending - it’s what sets the credit union apart
Responsible lending - it’s what sets the credit union apart

When there’s more month than money, it’s hard to resist the messages to borrow. They’re everywhere. On our high streets and shopping centres, TVs, newspapers and email inboxes. And if you’re struggling to make ends meet or to deal with an unexpected bill, their promises are hard to resist.

So why would you take out a loan with a credit union rather the thousands of other lenders out there? In a phrase, our loans are affordable and we lend responsibly. That’s because credit unions care about people and not just making money.

Credit union manager Matt Goulding explains: “We take very good care to make sure you can afford to repay the loan you take out with us. Why do we do this? First, the money we’re lending belongs to members who save with the credit union. They expect us to lend money to people who can afford to repay it. And second, we care about the impact that loan has on your life. We want to meet your needs and aspirations, but above all, we want to make sure your loan does not become a problem debt.”

And according to debt charity StepChange problem debt can damage family life, mental and physical health and job prospects.

So, when members apply for a loan, what steps do we take to make sure they can repay it?

First and most important, we treat you like an individual, not a number to be ‘scored’. So we’ll ask you about your credit history - whether, for example, you have had a County Court Judgment (CCJ) or Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA).

Matt says it is really important that loan applicants are truthful. “We won’t necessarily turn you down for a loan if you don’t have a great credit history, but you must be honest about things like CCJs.” And we’ll ask for bank statements to see if you’re managing your money okay. We’ll take all this information into account when we assess your application and the size of the loan you want to take out. Sometimes, we will ask members to save with us for a short period of time before we consider a loan application.

Matt explains why: “If you don’t have a great credit history or your bank statements show you’re not managing your money very well, we’ll ask you to show that you could cope with loan repayments by saving with us for a period of time. This way, applicants get into the habit of putting aside a small sum of money each week or each month and we have more evidence that they could cope with repaying a loan without getting into difficulty.

“Many of our members who have had a chequered credit history start to take better control of their money by saving with the credit union as well as occasionally taking out loans. This is so much better than taking out one high interest doorstep or payday loan after another and plunging into problem debt.”

So, if you have joined the credit union to take out a loan, what are the next steps? This all depends on your individual circumstances, says Matt, but usually, loans can be approved in a matter of days.

If you’re on benefits such as Jobseekers Allowance, Child Benefit or Carer’s Allowance, we’ll approve a loan subject to conditions once your first benefit payment is made into your credit union account.

If you’re a member of our payroll deduction scheme we’ll approve your loan, subject to conditions, once you complete a payroll deduction form for your employer.

If you’re in work, we’ll approve your application subject to conditions and once you have made a first payment into your credit union account.

And once you’ve taken out a credit union loan, you have the option of taking out an instant top-up loan if an emergency crops up. Matt says: “Our instant top-ups are available to all members who have paid at least £200 off their balance since they last topped up and the total loan balance is below £1000. This way, we help our members to avoid the payday and doorstep lenders.”

Your top-up loan application can be assessed while you wait in one of our Worcester Street branch. Once you’ve signed the paperwork, we make the payment by instant bank transfer. The instant access option is subject to availability between 10.00am and 3.00pm.

Find Us here:
  • Wolverhampton City Credit Union
  • Tel: 01902 572340
  • Email: