Frequently asked questions
Gloucestershire Credit Union is one of over 57,400 credit unions operating in more than 115 countries around the world, and the first credit union was created in 1853. However, credit unions are not as well known in Britain as they are in many other countries.
Below are some Frequently Asked Questions to help you understand how we work. If you can’t find out the information you’re looking for, contact us – details of how to do this are at the bottom of the page.
- What is a Credit Union?
It’s a financial co-operative which is owned and run by its members – the people who have a savings account. Credit unions offer financial services which only its members can use, and the services on offer depend upon the credit union. Some offer just savings and loans, others offer more complex services such as current accounts.
- Who owns Gloucestershire Credit Union?
It’s owned by the people who hold savings accounts with it and only people who live and/or work in Gloucestershire can join it. These people are called members and at Annual General Meetings they can have a say on how the organisation is run.
- How do credit unions work?
Everyone who is a member of the credit union has to have a savings account. These savings create a pool of money which the credit union uses to lend to its members who want loans. The interest charged on loans gives the credit union its income and, at the end of each financial year, some of the surplus is shared between all the members.
- How is the organisation managed?
Gloucestershire Credit Union employs a manager and a part-time financial administrator to run the organisation on a day-to-day basis. A Board of Directors meets regularly to oversee the organisation’s management and make strategic decisions about its work. All the directors are volunteers and get no financial remuneration for doing this work. A Loans Committee meets every week to assess and decide upon members’ loan applications.
- How long has Gloucestershire Credit Union been operating?
The credit union can trace its roots back as far as 1992 when St Peter’s (Gloucester) Credit Union was set up, concentrating primarily upon Gloucester. In 2011, its remit was broadened to cover the whole county to become Gloucestershire Credit Union.
- Who can join Gloucestershire Credit Union
Anyone who lives and/or works in the county of Gloucestershire.
- How do I become a member?
To become a member, you simply need to open a savings account which costs £5 non-refundable admin fee and a £5 deposit into the account. Members can only hold one savings account with the credit union. Children and young people under 18 years old can also become members by opening a Junior Savings Account but they won’t have any voting rights at the members’ Annual General Meeting.
- What identity documents do I need when joining?
The law requires us to verify your identity when you open an account. We can do this in one of two ways:
- you can show us proof of identity with your photograph on (a current passport, driving licence or a national identity card), and proof of address (like a utility bill, current driving licence, bank statement, council tax bill or benefits letter). All the latter should be the originals and dated within the past three months.
- we can use an online identity check with a credit reference agency to verify your identity and address. This is not a credit check and will not be recorded on your credit record.
- How much does it cost to join?
Membership costs £5 non-refundable admin fee and a £5 deposit into your new savings account.
- Is there an annual membership fee?
- Is there a minimum or maximum amount I can save?
The maximum is £15,000.
- Are my savings safe with you?
Yes, Gloucestershire Credit Union is run as a professional organisation and is regulated by the same way as banks, building societies and other financial organisations. It is authorised by the Prudential Regulatory Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulatory Authority. All savings with Gloucestershire Credit Union are also protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme – this means that if the credit union was shut down, the FSCS would repay all members the same amount of money as they held in savings with the credit union.
- How do I pay into my savings?
- You can set up a standing order or transfers from your current account, money should be sent to account 20278618, sort code 60-83-01 and you must reference the payment with your membership number so we can identify and credit it to your savings.
- You can pay in cheques (payable to Gloucestershire Credit Union).
- By cash at our office in Gloucester Library, Brunswick Road, Gloucester, Mon-Fri, 10am – 1pm, Sat 10am – 12 noon.
Please note: There is a limit on cash deposits of £500 deposit any one time and we are bound by money laundering regulations to identify the source of such deposits, so please do not be offended if our cashiers ask you where your money came from.
- How do I withdraw my savings?
If you have a nominated bank account to pay the transfer into, you can request a withdrawal over the telephone.
Otherwise you’ll need to fill in a shares withdrawal form and return that to our office.
You will need to keep a minimum of £1 in your savings account to keep it open.
All withdrawals from your savings will be paid by transfer into a bank account or as credit onto an Engage Pre-paid Visa Debit card. We regret that we are unable to pay withdrawals as cash. All withdrawal requests received before 1pm on a working day (Monday to Friday) will be processed in the following way:
- transfers up to £250 to your Engage Visa card will be paid before 3pm on the same day,
- transfers over £250 to Engage cards or any transfers to bank accounts will be paid on the next working day.
If we receive a withdrawal request after 1pm we will be unable to process it until the following working day.
- What is the interest rate on savings?
We don’t pay an interest rate as such. Because the credit union is run as a co-operative, we pay what is called a ‘dividend’ – this is amount each member receives when the credit union’s profit is divided between everyone at the end of a financial year. At the annual general meeting in February 2018, members decided to pay a dividend on all savings accounts equivalent to 0.25% interest. Paying a dividend can’t be guaranteed as it depends upon how much profit the credit union has made during the financial year.
- Can I do online banking with the credit union?
Yes, there is a full online banking service available so you can easily manage the money in your savings account, and any loans, at a time that suits you. You can register for access here.
- How do I request a statement?
Call us on 01452-422712 or email the office on firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will get a statement sent to you by post or email. Or you can register to manage your account online and then you’ll be able to see your balance whenever you wish.
- Do you offer a credit card or current account?
We don’t have a current account or credit account as such, instead we offer the Engage Pre-paid Visa Debit card. You can transfer money from your savings’ account onto this card and use it like a debit card until it is spent. Then the card can be topped up again. There is a monthly administration fee + a fee for every cashpoint transaction. Full details are on the Spend page of this website.
- Junior Savers Accounts
These are special savings accounts for children and young people under 18 years old. Payments into these accounts can be by standing order, cash or cheque (made payable to Gloucestershire Credit Union). Junior accounts receive the same dividend as the adult savings’ accounts.
- How do I apply for a loan?
Our information sheet Getting the Right Loan from Gloucestershire Credit Union will help you decide which loan will meet your needs and how much you can apply to borrow from us. Or you can contact our office to discuss your needs and get a personal loan quotation.
When you’ve decided which loan to apply for, complete a loan application form which is available on our website, or by calling in person to our office in Gloucester Library, Brunswick Road, Gloucester, Mon-Fri, 10am – 1pm, Sat 10am – 12 noon, or request one be sent to you by post.
When you apply for a loan you will need to supply the following information:
- Your Gloucestershire Credit Union membership number
- Details of the bank account to which your loan will be paid if it is approved
- Information about your wages, benefits and other income
- Details of your household expenses
- Details of any other debts you may have
Send your application to us and please make sure that you include all the necessary extra documents listed on the application form (such as bank statements) as it will take much longer to process your application if any of this is missing.
- How much can I borrow?
The maximum loan we can loan is £10,000 for a maximum of 5 years.
- Do I need to save before I can borrow?
No, but if you save regularly with us for more than 13 weeks, you become eligible to apply for the Savers’ Loan which has a lower interest rate. Before we can grant you a loan, you must join Gloucestershire Credit Union which involves opening a savings account. If you’re not already a member, we will consider your application and let you know whether we can grant you a loan before you need to join.
- What are attached shares?
Those taking out a Savers’ or CURight Loan are required to keep a minimum balance in their share (savings) accounts: for a first loan this is 33% of the loan and for subsequent loans it is 20% of the loan. These amounts of savings are called ‘attached shares’. Because we’re run as a co-operative, technically your savings aren’t called savings, they’re called ‘shares’ – but you use them in the same way as savings kept with a bank or other financial body.
- How long does it take to assess my loan application?
We aim to make a decision within 3 working days but if any of the paperwork necessary to support your application is missing, it will take much longer to process your application as we will need to contact you and ask you to send it to us.
- What if I want a loan but I have a poor credit rating?
Having a poor credit record doesn’t automatically stop you borrowing from us, but you will have to explain to us why you got into financial difficulties and convince us that you have moved on from this problem.
- Does my loan application to you affect my credit score?
We will conduct a credit search on all loan applications which is recorded on your credit history. Repaying your loan on time will improve your credit score, but any missed or late payments will show on your credit record.
- Do you offer mortgages?
Unfortunately, Gloucestershire Credit Union can’t offer mortgages at this time.
- Can I repay my loan early?
Yes, and you won’t be charged any extra fees if you do this – unlike with most other borrowers.
- What is the free loan protection insurance?
We insure all the loans we give out so that, in the tragic situation of you dying before the loan is repaid, any outstanding amount is paid by the insurance policy.
- Where your offices and what are are the opening times?
Our office is based in Gloucester Library, Brunswick Road, Gloucester, GL1 1HT and is open Monday-Fridays 10am – 1pm, and Saturdays 10am – 12 noon. Go to the reception desk on the second floor of the library (a lift is available) and the receptionist there will direct you to our office.
- What is your GDPR policy?
You’ll find our policy explaining how we use and protect your personal information here (note to Will – hyperlink to GDPR page). We never sell it onto anyone else, and only use it in order to manage your account and money. You can ask to see the data we hold about you whenever you wish. Our contact details are at the bottom of the page.
- Your rights
Your rights are explained in full here.
- How long do we keep personal information?
Our policy relating to personal data is explained here.