FAQs

 

Your questions answered

General FAQs

What is a credit union?

A credit union is a community savings & loans provider that exists to provide financial services to a common group of members – in our case those employed in retail or related industries in the UK. Unlike banks and other commercial finance providers, a credit union does not operate to generate a profit – it exists solely for the benefit of its members.

Why a credit union and not a bank or other lender?

A credit union is a community of its members, whose aims are to promote their financial wellbeing through savings, affordable and appropriate lending opportunities, and through the promotion of greater financial awareness. Members are the owners of the credit union and the absence of third-party shareholders results in beneficial rates for depositors and borrowers. The pressure to generate profit for shareholder dividends is greatly reduced, and any surpluses generated by the credit union are redistributed among the members.

The structure and nature of a credit union frequently enables it to help those who are currently excluded from access to ordinary bank products.  It can become a lifeline for people who may otherwise have to resort to payday loans or doorstep lending which often carry incredibly high interest rates.

Is my money safe with you?

Yes. We are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). The FSCS can pay compensation to depositors if a credit union is unable to meet its financial obligations. Most depositors – including most individuals and small businesses – are covered by the scheme. In respect of deposits, an eligible depositor is entitled to claim up to £75,000.

 

We are also authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. This means that we meet strict conditions for trading, we are required to submit information on our financial performance to the regulators every three months and our directors and senior staff are vetted by the regulators.

Joining us FAQs

 

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What are the criteria for joining ?

Please see our common bond page for more information about requirements for joining us.

How do I join?

You can join us online.  If you have any questions, or want to talk about the application process, please feel free to contact us.

On receipt of a fully completed application we will verify your identity and open your account. This verification is usually done electronically. In some cases, we may need to ask for additional ID before we can open your membership account. Once your account is open you will receive a welcome pack with all the information you should need.

Why do you need proof of my identity?

All financial organisations need to know who their customers are. The level of ID we request will be the level required by the Money Laundering Regulations.

Is my information safe?

We are registered with the office of the Information Commissioner and operate entirely within the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998. This also allows you to get copies of information we hold about you in our records.

All our board members and staff sign a confidentiality agreement and none of your details are passed outside of the credit union except with your permission or as allowed under our Data Protection Registration or where required by law.  Please see our Terms and Conditions and Data Protection Policy for more information.

Savings FAQs

 

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Will I get paid interest on my savings?

Rather than receive a fixed interest rate on their savings, credit union members share in a dividend payment which is based on the surplus earned by the credit union over the course of the financial year.

 

The level of dividend is recommended by the board of directors and then agreed at the Annual General Meeting of the credit union, which every member can attend. The level of dividend will usually vary from year to year, depending on how successful the credit union has been.

Is my money safe with you?

Absolutely. Like all major financial institutions, we are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). The FSCS can pay compensation to depositors if an organisation is unable to meet its financial obligations. Find out more about this scheme here.

 

We are also authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. This means that we meet strict conditions for trading, we are required to submit information on our financial performance to the regulators every three months and our directors and senior staff are vetted by the regulators.

How can I withdraw my savings?

Looking to withdraw some of your savings?

 

It’s very easy for members to withdraw funds from their NLCU account. You can send an email to us, use the secure messaging system within the Members Area or come in person and complete a withdrawal request, if you really want to you can even send us a letter by post.

 

All withdrawal request received before 4.00pm will be processed on that day, and funds will normally be in your account that same evening by immediate payment to the designated account, however as your bank will also play a part in this transaction we can never guaruntee timings.

 

All share withdrawals received on weekends, public or bank holidays, or any other day that the credit union office is closed will be dealt with on the next day that the office is open.

 

Members must leave a minimum of £5 in your account with North London Credit Union.

Please see our Terms & Conditions for Membership Savings Accounts withdrawal rules for full information.

Loans FAQs

 

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Who can get a loan?

North London Credit Union offer personal loans direct to the individual – we provide loans for many different reasons.

 

Loans are only offered to members of the North London Credit Union, but joining is easy and free – you can apply for a loan at the same time as applying for membership and if your loan is declined for any reason there is no obligation for you to continue with your application to become a saving member of the Credit Union, however in some situations we may suggest that saving for a short while and then re-applying to borrow may help our decision for your next application.

 

All of our loan applications are assessed on the basis of the member’s affordability and credit history.

 

Why do I need to supply income and expenditure information for a loan?

One of the main things we look at for loan applications is if you are able to afford the repayments, so as a responsible lender, it is important that we ask you to confirm your income and expenditure. For this reason we will ask that you either sign in through our Open Banking portal or provide copies of your own bank statements.

 

This ensures that we do not take unnecessary risks with the credit union’s funds and do not give out loans where we feel it will result in the member getting into financial difficulty.

How much can I borrow?

The minimum loan is currently £300, the maximum loan we can offer is £10,000.

 

How much you can personally borrow depends on your own situation and if you are able to afford the repayments.

 

The credit union aims to support you and at the same time protect its members’ money and we do that by assessing each application individually. It is not in our interests or yours to lend you money you can’t repay.

What are your interest rates?

Interest rates are based on the amount you borrow as well as the loan purpose.

 

You can use our Loan Calculator to get a better idea of the amount you would be charged in interest.

I think I have seen lower rates on the high street, why?

You may see lower APRs advertised but we recommend that you check whether the advertised rate applies to the loan amount you actually need. Often, the lowest advertised rates from major financial institutions only apply to the higher value loans and are quoted as a “representative” rate, which means that may not be the rate that you are offered. Many of our customers have reported to us that bank’s offered them a loan at a much higher rate than advertised. With us, what you see is what you get.

You might find that they won’t even provide the loan amount that you need at any rate.

Also, check what you will actually pay monthly and what is included. We charge interest on the reducing balance only, whereas they might apply interest up-front on the total loan.

In addition, you build up savings so that you can pay off your loan early or, if your loan runs its full term, you have a savings balance to keep.

As we are a regulated credit union, you know that you are not paying for outside shareholders or profits. Surpluses, after operating costs and allocation to reserves, are used to pay dividends to savers.

How do I repay my loan?

In the same way you make payments to your savings account. This might be by direct payroll deduction, by direct debit or through benefit payments directly to your credit union account.

 

This will be discussed with you at the time we approve any loan with you so you’re fully aware of the situation.

Can I pay off my loan early?

Yes. If you wish to repay your total outstanding loan early you can do so in one payment.

 

There are no early repayment charges for this.

Can I pay extra amounts to my loan if and when I have the money?

Yes.

 

You can make payments by bank transfer directly into your NLCU account or ask us to increase your regular monthly repayment.

 

If you want to discuss this in more detail the best thing to do is call us at the time when you’re ready to do this.

If I leave my current employer - can I still be a member?

If you leave your employer, you can still retain membership of the Credit Union; however it is your responsibility to contact us to keep us updated and to make alternative arrangements for paying into your account or repaying your loan.

What do I need to send to you?

You will need to complete an online application form – in some circumstances we may need evidence of your identity and evidence of your address.

 

For all loan applications we are required to verify your income and your expenses, we are able to do this through our new Open Banking portal for the majority of banks and types of bank account, if we aren’t able to do this though you will need to provide us with clear readable bank statements.

 

Use of the Open Banking portal will allow us to make a faster decision in most cases so we do suggest that you use this if you’re able to do so.

Why do you want to see all this information?

A credit union is a local co-operative. The money it loans out belongs to your friends and colleagues and fellow members with our common bond, and therefore we must loan it out responsibly. For this reason, we need to check that you are able to repay any amount we lend to you and this is why we ask for all this information. Please note that all information provided to us remains strictly confidential.

Please see our Data Protection PolicyPrivacy Policy and our Terms & Conditions pages for more information.

If my loan application is approved, when do I get my money?

Once your loan has been approved we will send out a loan agreement for you to sign and return to us. If you are a new member this will only be sent to you by post as it will allow us to further verify your address.

 

If you have applied for a loan for the purposes of debt consolidation we will only send funds directly to the creditors you want us to repay.

Do you perform a credit check?

Yes, we carry out a credit check on all loan applications.  This is to help ensure we are lending sensibly and protecting the interests of all members who save with us.

 

The credit check will in part be used to verify the information that you provide when you apply for your loan. It is therefore vital that you accurately enter your information correctly in your application, including any other outstanding credit you may have.

What if I have difficulty repaying?

By only making affordable, responsible loans and by working in partnership with independent, local, free money advice services we hope that you won’t get into serious difficulty.  In the future we hope to offer access to a financial health check for all members, which could help you with budgeting and income maximisation and if you need it then we also work with local debt advisers who may be able to help you.

We have a duty to recover our members’ money. Members who fail to pay and fail to work with us to come to repayment arrangements will be entered into a strict debt collection process, including court action, bailiffs, attachments to earnings, charging orders and other available forms of enforcement.

We are a professional, local, ethical, not-for-profit financial services organisation, owned and governed by its members.   We aim to provide affordable savings, loans and financial products to our members.

If you are having difficulty with your repayments, please contact us.

Member Hub and Account management FAQs

 

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I have forgotten my password, can I get a reminder?

Yes, just click the “forgotten my password” link on the login page, a new password will be sent to you through the email address or telephone number we hold on file for you.

 

For your security, Member Hub passwords are not shared with our staff at any time.

I no longer have access to that email address, can you give me my password over the telephone?

If you have lost access to the email address and mobile number we hold for you you will need to call our office so we can pass you through security and update the information on your account.

 

Data held on our servers is updated once an hour, once the information has been updated on our servers you will then be able to use the “forgotten my password” link to log in to the account

Can I deal with my account over the telephone?

You may contact us about your account by telephone provided that you can answer security questions. Some transactions, such as loan agreements, will always need to have your signature before they can be processed. We cannot take withdrawal instructions over the telephone.

Can I check my balance or carry out transactions online?

We are updating the Members Hub all the time to try and make it a valuable tool for you and how you interact with your account. At the moment you can check your account balance and apply for loans.

 

You can also send us a secure message to request a withdrawal from your account though this is not an instant process it will be sent out as any other withdrawal.

Is the data on the web site up to date?

The account information online is updated once an hour.

 

Payments in may not show immediately as this is updated over night for any bank payments made and direct debits will not be shown until they have cleared processing which is usually the next working day after payment is made.

 

For members making payment through payroll deduction, information is correct as and when we receive it from your employer, your employer may not provide the information at the same time you receive your own pay or payslip – until we have confirmation from them that your deduction has taken place we cannot credit it to your NLCU account.

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