Story and photo by Abdulrahman Oulmi
We visited Community First Credit Union to speak to Caroline Askin about their services.
Caroline told us how they are an easy way to save and offers financial services such as low-cost loans, budgeting accounts, savings accounts and a Christmas club. If you want to join, you just need to fill in an application form and provide proof of your identity and where you live. Unlike other banks and building societies you do not need photo ID to sign up, which makes it that bit easier for people.
If you are a long-standing member you can withdraw money via an ATM, and all members can use the account in person, over the internet or by their app. New accounts are ‘cashless’ – partly because of the costs and dangers of having cash delivered. Cards for an ATM are all prepaid, and it is the member who decides how much can be put on their card each week or month.
Loans are charged at a quite cheap rate of 3%, and there is no maximum amount that you can borrow, it all depends upon what you can afford. Most loans are paid back over one year, though they can run for two years for larger amounts. The company ensures it listens to its customers and that any repayments can genuinely be met by them.
“If somebody comes in and says you know my car’s broken down this week I have to pay for repairs and can’t afford my loan payment. We will sort it out so that don’t pay that week without charging them any extra.”
Community First is currently being run out of the Arches Housing building on Melrose Road, on Wednesday afternoons.
For more information visit the website www.communityfirstcu.co.uk or call 03030 300 010.