Coronavirus FAQ

We realise that you might have concerns and questions about your Credit Union during this period of uncertainty. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, please do not hesitate to get in touch by email info@northlondoncu.org

 

This situation is constantly changing and we will do our best to keep this page updated.

 

Our phones on 020 8366 8244 are still open and we are trying to arrange for remote access to calls for staff who are working remotely, but in the meantime, there is only a skeleton staff in the office. Please be patient if we can’t answer your call immediately. If you leave a voicemail message we will try and return your call as soon as possible or you might like to email us instead at info@northlondoncu.org

 

We have also put together some resources that you might find useful at the bottom of this page.

 

 

Are you closing?

No.

 

North London Credit Union is still open and trading as normally as possible, given that we have fewer staff in the office at the moment.

We made the decision to close the office at George Mews with effect from Tuesday 18th March 2020. We have also postponed drop-in and sign-up sessions for the time-being.

 

 

Are my savings safe?

Yes.

 

Even should the worst happen and a credit union has to permanently shut, all savings in credit unions, banks and building societies are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) up to the £85,000 limit. This means that all our savers’ deposits are covered. You can find more information about the FSCS here: https://www.fscs.org.uk/

 

 

I am having difficulty making repayments on a loan, can you help?

If you are having problems because you are unable to work or your income has dropped please get in touch as quickly as possible on 020 8366 8244, option 1 and we will try our best to help.

 

As everyone’s situation and circumstances are different, it is important that you talk to us and continue to keep in touch during this unprecedented crisis.

 

Please don’t assume that we will automatically know your circumstances or that you may be experiencing difficulties.

 

 

I need to withdraw some or all of my savings, how do I do that?

Send an email to info@northlondoncu.org stating your full name and how much you would like to withdraw, plus your membership number if you know it.

 

The money will be transferred to the account we have on file for you. If we don’t have any bank details on file, you want the money sent to a different account or it is a large amount, we will ask you to complete and sign a withdrawal form, which can be scanned and returned by email.

 

If you want to keep your account open, you will need to leave £5 in your account.

 

The account you want us to transfer your savings to must be registered to your name and current address.

 

 

I need to reduce or stop my savings for the time being, how do I do this?

If you save by Direct Debit: we can do this for you up to three working days before the payment is due to leave your account, by phone on 020 8366 8244, option 1 or email us on info@northlondoncu.org. We have to send information to our bank about the payments, so we do ask that you let us know as soon as possible. If it is too late for us to stop the payment, you still can get in touch with your bank and ask them to stop it for you.

 

If you save by standing order: you will need to do this, as we have no control over payments that you send us by this method. Simply call your bank or use your digital banking service.

 

If you save by payroll deduction: let us know by email as soon as possible (for most employers we will use this as your authority to change your payments with your employer’s payroll department, although some may require a change form). Payroll will process the change for the next available payment cycle (we have no influence on this).

 

 

Are you still accepting new members?

Yes, absolutely. The only difference is that you won’t be able to come into the office to join for the foreseeable future.

 

If you are not yet a member, you can register and apply for a loan online at https://northlondon.cuaccount.com/join/ (you will have the opportunity to make a loan application at the same time as joining).

 

We can also email or post forms to you, just email us at info@northlondoncu.org

 

 

Can I make a loan application?

We are still assessing loan applications from both new and existing members although processing is taking a little longer than usual at the moment.

 

If you are already a member and want to apply for a loan: you can apply online or we can send you forms.

 

If you are not a member: you will need to register first. This is free and there is no waiting period or need to save before making a loan application.

 

The registration form will ask you how much you wish to save, but please note that we always assess the loan application first. If we are unable to lend, you are very welcome to join NLCU and save towards your goals, just email or call us within 7 days of the decision. If you don’t want to join and save, you don’t need to do anything.

 

There is a six-month gap between applications for both existing and non-members.

 

Please see the questions below about loans for virus-related and consolidation purposes.

 

 

Are you able to lend for virus-related loan purposes?

Much as we want to help everyone who applies, we are a community lender making loans with the savings of our members. These loans will need to be repaid in full, so we still need to carry out assessments on applications to ensure that the people we lend to can afford to repay.

 

We still need to carry out our affordability checks to ensure that applicants can afford repayments on top of their usual outgoings. This means that if you want a loan to help you because you’ve lost your job or your income has been reduced, we are sadly unlikely to be able to lend.

 

 

Are you still credit checking applications?

Yes. Aside from loans secured on savings we always perform a full credit search on every application.

 

This is done automatically when you submit your application and it will be visible on your credit file when other creditors carry out a search. We report repayments to credit reference agencies each month.

 

 

Are you still offering consolidation loans?

We regret to say that we will not be considering applications for consolidation loans (where we repay other creditors) for the next few weeks.

 

If you are concerned about your repayments to your creditors, we recommend seeking free, non-judgemental advice from a specialist charity, such as Citizens Advice, PayPlan, StepChange, or National Debtline. They can help you find out what your options are and to set them up if required.

 

We do not recommend using private insolvency practitioners, as you will pay a large proportion of the money you could be paying your creditors in fees, so it will take longer to clear your debts.

 

 

Resources:

Gov.UK have collated all the relevant information, including benefits, employment rights, travel, etc. here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

 

The official health advice is here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

 

Sadly, there are unscrupulous people trying to take advantage of the situation to trick people out of their money, so it’s more important than ever to be scam aware. Head to https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/alert/coronavirus-related-fraud-reports-increase-by-400-in-march or https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/news/neighbourhood-watch-response-covid-19/be-aware-covid-19-scams-and-crimes to find out what the most common frauds are and how to protect yourself.

 

The Government have set up a dedicated website to help businesses find out how to access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/

 

National Debtline have a factsheet for individuals worried about their finances here: https://www.nationaldebtline.org/.

 

If you are a business owner, you can find information here: https://www.businessdebtline.org

 

There are similar excellent dedicated pages put together by Citizen’s Advice, StepChange and the Money & Pensions Service.

 

Money Saving Expert (MSE) has useful information about your rights:

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2020/03/uk-coronavirus-help-and-your-rights/

 

Plus a dedicated page for would-be travellers:

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2020/02/coronavirus-travel-help-and-your-rights/

 

Debt Camel has put together some useful links and info specifically-related to Coronavirus here: https://debtcamel.co.uk/coronavirus-can-you-pay-debts/

 

Obviously NLCU can take no responsibility for third-party websites or the information on them.