How does it work?
By saving with their credit union, members create a pool of money that can be used to grant affordable and straightforward loans to members. All the profit that the credit union makes, from investments and interest on loans, is returned to the saving members in the form of dividend.
Is it safe?
Credit unions are part of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and the Financial Ombudsman Scheme. In addition, credit unions offer free life insurance on all savings and loans.
How does a credit union differ from banks and building societies?
Credit unions are professionally run businesses that provide something extra: a genuine commitment to help people within their common bond, or trading area. The services offered by credit unions are as affordable, flexible, and straightforward as possible. Credit unions commit to provide a local, friendly, and flexible service. There are no outside shareholders: elected members who are responsible to the membership run the credit union.
What is a ‘common bond’?
Unlike banks and building societies, credit unions are formed around a common bond. This is a recognised group of individuals who share a common interest. The common bond establishes a degree of mutual accountability amongst the membership, which encourages active support and a responsible attitude of members towards their credit union. For the Oxford Credit Union, the common bond is ‘living and/or working (including voluntary work) within Oxfordshire’.
What is the main business of credit unions?
Offering savings and loans. Credit unions encourage their members to save regularly, if only small amounts. Even a small amount adds up! Saving is possible by coming into the office, through payroll deduction, from benefits or by standing order. The savings form a pool of money that can be used to offer affordable loans to the members at an APR of 26.8% (2% per month). There are no arrangement fees, no early repayment penalties, or other hidden charges.
What other services do credit unions offer to me?
They provide you with a basic financial services package on top of the savings and loans on offer: you can deposit cheques, draw your benefits or pension, and obtain financial information. Credit unions will do everything they can to provide the service you need.
How can I influence the running of the credit union?
You can influence the running of the credit union in two main ways. Firstly by voting: each year, the Annual General Meeting elects the directors and officers of the credit union, who are accountable to the membership. Each member of the credit union has one vote, regardless of the amount of savings with the credit union. This means, that by voting, you can influence the running of the credit union. Secondly, you can influence the running of the credit union by becoming involved as a director or officer. You can stand for election and become an active part of the governance of the credit union! In addition to the Board of Directors, the credit union has a Credit Committee (responsible for the loans business of the credit union) and a Supervisory Committee (the eyes and ears of the members).
Why should I join the Oxford Credit Union?
Whether you will become a saver or a borrower; credit union membership makes financial and social sense for you as well as for your local community. As a saver, you have the knowledge that your savings are safe and in addition, you know that your savings are used to help people from your own community. As a borrower, you have the knowledge that the credit union provides you with an affordable and flexible loan, with free life insurance and no charges for changing your repayment schedule