We are a credit union; a co-operative savings and loans organisation. We offer membership to people living in Somerset, North Somerset, Bath and North-East Somerset, Devon, Cornwall and parts of west Bristol. Our 2,500 members have pooled savings of £2.1m of which £1.9m is out on loan to members.
It's an exciting time to get involved with our credit union as we seek to diversify our membership and raise awareness of the benefits of a mutual organisation that offers safe savings accounts and affordable loans. We help many of our members avoid high interest payday lenders but need to balance this with generating income from larger loans in an increasingly competitive market.
Although not a charity (we are a limited company), all credit unions have charitable aims, chief among them are the alleviation of poverty, the encouragement of thrift and the financial education of members. These may sound old-fashioned but have never been so important.
Volunteers are the life-blood of the organisation. All the Directors on our Board are volunteers and we have a number of other volunteers who sit on our Credit & Risk, Supervisory, and Marketing and Development Committees.
We run a back-office operation from Portishead and have Information Points (where members can transact) in Weston-super-Mare and Clevedon. Increasingly we are interacting with members through electronic means. However we still work with local organisations such as Councils, Housing Associations and voluntary organisations to encourage membership, get into the savings habit and only borrow is necessary.
We are fully regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority. In the past three financial years we have made a surplus and offered a competitive dividend to members.This brings savings into the organisation which are lent out to our membership, thus ensuring the economic benefits stay within our region.