We have just held our 2014 -2015 Annual General Meeting at 1 Angel Square, Manchester. Thanks to all of our members that attended, it was great to see so many people there.
The AGM is a great opportunity to see democracy in action and underlines just how different credit unions are from the big banks on the high street. All members are eligible to attend the AGM and vote on decisions such as nominations to our board of directors and the proposed dividend. Importantly, all members attending received the accounts for the year and had the opportunity to ask questions to the board of directors, management and auditors. There aren’t many financial institutions that are that open and transparent. Members can ask any question they like about any aspect of the CCU so if you have a question you’ve always wanted to know the answer then please come along to next year’s AGM, we’d love to see you there.
2015 was a year of financial challenge across the UK and one of great change for our credit union. We increased our common bond and welcomed lots of new members including the Co-operative Party and USDAW (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers). We have partnered with other co-operatives to bring exclusive benefits to our members. Many members are already benefiting from our partnership with Co-operative Energy and The Phone Co-op.
Just before Christmas CEO, Linda Edwards, moved on to continue her career as a freelance Business Change Specialist. We wish Linda great success with her new career and thank her for her hard work and contribution to CCU over the last two years. We also say goodbye to our Chairperson Tony Britten who has stepped down from his position due to ill health. We thank him for his support and wish him, and his family, all the best.
So we start 2016 with a new, though very familiar Chairperson, as we welcome our very own Chris Smith, former Chair and board member for 18 years, back to the role. We also have a new management team, with Andy Davey taking on the role of Operations Manager, Sheena Jennison is our Finance & Credit Control Manager and Janet Henry has taken up the post of Office Manager. Congratulations to them all and we wish them the best of luck in their new roles.
We believe that members need to know that their business is healthy and vibrant and we have a duty to be transparent and easy to understand. The confidence in main stream financial organisations continues to be shaky and it is important to spell out how the Co-operative Credit Union is a simple, strong and effective business. So here are the headlines for the year 2014 to 2015:
- Membership: increased to… 8,331 (up 17%)
- Loans: reduced slightly to … £2.5m (down 1%)
- Shares: increased to … £4.1m (up 13%)
- Total Assets: increased to … £4.44m (up 12%)
- Income: increased to… £526k (up 11%)
- Surplus: increased to … £58k (including grant receipt)
Our priorities for 2016 are clear:
- with our enlarged common bond we now need to seize the opportunity to establish effective, innovative ways of engaging with our members in a way that suits them, this inevitably means exploring the technology that people use every day
- technology also poses us a big challenge. As cyber-crime becomes more prevalent and sophisticated we need to keep ahead of it to protect our members
- the economic climate remains tough and we’ll continue to support our members through this, with careful saving and borrowing, while ensuring that we control bad debt effectively to keep the credit union stable and robust.
We are pleased to announce the launch of a Revolving Credit Account for members, credit facilities of up to £2,500 with a flexible repayment programme to meet member’s needs. Subject to approval; members can determine the limit required linked to a monthly transfer to meet repayment and interest. No need for repeat submission of a loan application form when members require a top up to this facility.
During 2016, we are launching a Social Account (yet to be suitably named). This account is designed specifically for member’s who have a poor national credit record (at credit reference agencies) and wants to try to officially repair their credit reputation. The member will be issued a loan of up to £500 and the funds, instead of being actually paid out, are paid into a share account and the ’social loan’ is repaid across. The member merely pays a small amount of interest and makes a savings amount. At the end of the agreed period a member has a much improved national track record of making repayments and has savings too!
The Chair thanked three excellent volunteers, who are stepped down after many years as fantastic contributors to the credit union. Firstly, Chris thanked Nora Brennan for years of great support both on the board of directors and in the office. Chris said, “Nora steps down from the board and leaves with our love and good wishes and hope she enjoys her retirement”. Chris went onto say, “Eleanor Murdoch is well…… a very special board director, volunteer, recruiter, sales specialist, employee and all-round credit union supporter. She re-joined our board of directors during the year and then stepped down to head up our sales drive with our new partners”. He added, “I don’t want her efforts, with which ever hat she had on, to be ever forgotten, thanks Eleanor”. Finally, Chris thanked Michael Shepherd who, after 4 years, steps down as chair of the supervisory committee thanks Michael.