Credit unions open for business and serving their communities

By Patrick Thorpe posted 27-03-2020 14:46:27

Credit unions open for business and serving their communities

Following the announcement this week by Government that credit union staff are considered “key workers”, credit unions across the country have been working to provide the usual valued service to communities.

This week, Pennine Community Credit Union (PCCU) understands its service is more important than ever , especially for those who receive benefits for from  Government. On Tuesday, 24 March, PCCU processed £95,000 into member’s accounts before 9am ensuring members had access to their money as quickly as possible. Chief Executive, Kathryn Fogg said: “We created a plan to firstly reassure members their money was safe, would be processed and transferred as normal. Secondly to raise awareness regarding the different digital and telephone channels available to transact with their account now branches are closed, and finally to market the products that may be needed during the coronavirus outbreak.”

Kathryn is proud that 80% of the PCCU staff are providing this service remotely from their homes and operating as normal.  “The whole team are committed to providing the same level of service to members, whether that is sending their benefit payment at or before the time they normally receive it, processing savings withdrawals or providing an easy to follow loan application process,” Kathryn added.

In Liverpool, Enterprise Credit Union (ECU) is aware that at times like these community matters most. The credit union has made a £500 donation to St Gabriels in Huyton Quarry, who do a fantastic job helping the most vulnerable.

Commenting on how ECU has operated since the troubling circumstances began, Chief Executive, Karen Bennett said: “We decided to close all six branches on Monday and by Tuesday at 8am we had 12 staff all set up with telephones and remote access to systems. Our priority at this time is to make sure people have access to their cash, but we are also adamant to keep the communication going with our members, this could be just to help them set up online or to reduce payments on loans where members have seen have seen their wages reduced, but knowing we are there to listen to key.

“Although it’s challenging, this would not be possible without the commitment and dedication of the team we have.”

In a statement to members, CEO & President of the World Council of Credit Unions, Brian Branch said: “Credit unions are community based institutions and although this is a global health issue, it is one with community impact, so just as with any community crisis, we want to see credit unions step in to help communities deal with this issues.”

WOCCU is in conversation with credit unions in South Korea to learn more about how they are providing support in local communities, looking at how they help people access healthcare, prevent contact and take care of their loved ones.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
“They are doing this as a community support service and we are trying to support them in doing that. As we do that, we learn lessons about what works and what doesn’t work that we can share with other countries,” adds Mr Branch. WOCCU will be publishing material in the near future on how credit unions can support members during the pandemic.