What is the purpose of a Credit Union?
You have lots of choices in financial institutions. What is the best option for you and your family? When you compare, you will see the benefits of joining a credit union are quite clear.
Banks and Building Societies are financial institutions that accept deposits and make loans. They are in business to make a profit. They are chartered, or given permission to do business, by the state or federal government. They are owned by groups of stockholders whose interest include earning a healthy return on their investments.
There are about 480 credit unions in the UK and at least one new credit union registering every month.
A credit union is a group of people who save together and lend to each other at a reasonable rate of interest. The members of the credit union save together in low risk funds set by law and lend each other money for useful purposes.
For over 20 years people in Great Britain have achieved a better way of life through participation in their credit unions. They do this by forming a credit union or by joining an existing one.
Today, thousands of members enjoy the benefits of credit unions by saving together and being able to borrow at a reasonable rate of interest when the need arises. The credit union movement is strictly non-sectarian and non-political.
What is The Adventist Credit Union Ltd?
Put simply, Adventist Credit Union Ltd is a community co-operative bank.
It is a co-operative – run by the members for the members – no external shareholders.
It is for the community – you must live and/or worship in the United Kingdom area to be a member. It is a local church community bank – available for secure savings and low-cost loans.
In Britain there has been a long tradition of co-operative self-help exemplified by numerous voluntary organisations and friendly societies. The modern credit union movement shows that working together people can achieve far more through co-operation than by individual effort.
Any group of people sharing a ‘common bond’ can form a credit union. Every eligible person has the right to join an existing credit union.
Like all credit unions, the Adventist Credit Union is a financial co-operative owned and run by its members in accordance with strict laws and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – regulation number 213267. For more information about the FCA please see their website www.fca.gov.uk
How do I benefit?
- The interests of the members are served and no one else.
- There are no outside shareholders or borrowers.
- The members themselves run the credit union through elected committees.
- Unpaid officers perform many tasks, so costs are low.
- There are no management charges on savings.
- There are no arrangement fees or management charges on loans.
- There is a legal maximum rate of interest that can be charged on loans, which is no more than 22% APR. (The actual APR of the Adventist Credit Union is 12.68%).
- Life assurance is provided on both savings and loans for each member.
- After running costs have been met, a dividend is paid on the shares held by each member.
- The credit union can help members manage their money; giving them greater control over their financial affairs.
- The credit union is a practical example of people helping people in the church community.
Who runs a Credit Union?
The members do through election onto committees. The elected members become officers of the credit union and are educated and trained in the tasks they have to perform.
Credit unions have been very successful in helping people gain a greater measure of control over their personal finances. They are an effective means of teaching the value of voluntary action and community development. The members are the Credit Union.
- They provide services to themselves.
- The members own and control the credit union
- The credit union deals only with its members
- The members decide on the distribution of surpluses
- The credit union management is of a voluntary nature.
Who owns the Adventist Credit Union Ltd?
As a member, you do. Everyone who lives or worships in the United Kingdom area can be a member. This is known as the ‘Common Bond’.
How do I join the Adventist Credit Union?
If you are a Seventh-day Adventist (or a friend or family member of a Seventh-day Adventist) and you live or worship in the United Kingdom, ask us for a simple application form. When you have completed the application form you will also need to provide proof of identity and residence, pay a one-off fee of £5, and invest a minimum of £10 into your savings account.
How can I take out a loan?
Members are required to save regularly with the credit union for a minimum period of six months. They will then be eligible to apply for a loan. The amount of money you can borrow will depend upon the value of your savings. Repayment terms will be worked out by the credit union Credit Committee in accordance with the member’s financial circumstances.
All loans are protected by life assurance with the premiums paid by the Credit Union. This means that your loan is paid off should you die.
The Credit Union has been in existence for over 24 years and has an asset base of over £300,000. Currently the ACU has over £250,000 in its loan portfolio fund available to lend to its members. All loans are subject to the individual member submitting a complete and accurate loan application to support their capacity to repay a loan from the ACU.
Members must supply :
- Details of current income and expenditure
- Details of current indebtedness to other creditors and existing ACU loans
- Declaration as to the accuracy of the information submitted
- Initial loans of up to £7,000 are available to all qualifying members subject to their capacity to repay. Larger loans up to £20,000 can be considered on request.
- The loans are charged at 1% on the outstanding loan balance each month (APR 12.68%).
- As with all credit union loans, there are no penalties for early repayment.
By law, every credit union has to maintain financial reserves to cover any loan not repaid in full. In addition, there is a national fund to which all credit unions subscribe to further protection.
What is my commitment as a member of The Adventist Credit Union?
As a member, you make a commitment to save regularly with the credit union. Every £1 saved buys you a share. Children can save with the Adventist Credit Union as Junior Savers but cannot become members until they are 16 years old, or qualify as borrowers until they are 18 years old.
Do I receive interest on my savings?
Your savings buy shares in the credit union. Once running costs have been met, the remaining surplus can be paid to members in the form of a dividend. The dividend fund is paid out as a percentage on each member’s share balance total; just like a loyalty bonus. By law, the maximum dividend percentage paid is 8% gross per year.
What happens to my money?
Your credit union savings are banked and used to provide the loans offered to members. Each member’s savings are secured by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) up to £85,000. In addition the credit union covers all share deposits through the FSCS: so 100% of your share deposits are safe.
The main purpose of the credit union is to encourage regular savings and make loans to its members at low rates of interest. These loans are repaid by regular monthly instalments that include interest.
The credit union insures the lives of its savers and, depending on age, this insurance can be up to twice the value of shares you hold.
Children’s savings are held in a separate account and do not attract a dividend.