Real member experiences

''I want to say thank you very much for all your help it has turned my life around!''

Member from Central Leeds

The member was recently granted a top-up loan with Leeds Credit Union, and had forgotten that there was a savings element added to her monthly loan repayment. Leeds Credit Union has a policy of encouraging members to save even if it’s only a small amount that the member can afford.

Helen realised that she had some savings already. For the first time in her adult life she was delighted. Helen then increased her monthly repayment considerably so that at the end of her new loan repayment period she would have even more savings. 

As a result of her experience, loans have been granted to other members of her family, who also now save at the same time. She also persuaded a friend not to use a well known high interest lender.

Member from Castleford

This new member is an employee of a large Wakefield retailer, who is on a low wage and working shifts. The credit union helped to put him on correct billing tariffs for Council Tax & Water charges, saving him £23.00 per week. He also had a small amount of rent arrears with his housing association and to help with this, LCCU arranged for him to pay his priority bills through a LCCU "Bill Paying Account" via payroll deduction.

The member also required a loan for £350 to purchase new mountain bike, and this was necessary to commute to work. LCCU was able to grant a low cost loan with the decision being made on the same day. LCCU was able to arrange the collection of his loan agreement from his home address and this enabled us to be able to pay the loan out before a forthcoming Bank Holiday.

Member from West Leeds

This new member had suffered from depression for a number of years and struggled with daily activities; his financial position suffered because of his illness. Following a referral from Bramley housing office, Mr Y made an appointment with a LCCU member of staff. At first he was extremely anxious when he came for the appointment saying he wasn’t very good with things like this. He soon became more comfortable and started to explain why he had such a high level of rent arrears and other priority bills. It turned out that he had not had a supply of gas or electric for over 2 years due to getting behind with payments on his pre-paid meter and not having enough income to pay the arrears to restore the services. LCCU contacted the charity CHARIS and applied for a grant to pay his gas arrears. Unfortunately this was rejected still leaving him without any gas at his home. However, earlier in the year his father had passed away leaving his sister and himself some money. His sister paid for the electric to be put back on for him from these funds and he has since continued to pay the weekly amount allowing him to keep warm. LCCU applied to the water trust and they awarded him a grant for the full amount of arrears which was over £450, Mr Y was over the moon with this news and rang the credit union to let our staff member know. The member then successfully applied for his housing benefit to be backdated leaving a much smaller amount outstanding. Discretionary

Housing Payment was also applied for and was granted. Mr Y has since been paying his rent arrears through his credit union bill paying account and the arrears are now reducing.

The member said “I want to say thank you very much for all your help it has turned my life around. Things are well and it’s mostly down to you, thanks again”

Member from Swarcliffe, Leeds

Mr and Mrs Smith attended an office appointment, as they needed help prioritising their debts and they had no idea where they stood with their bills.

The LCCU staff member reviewed their Income and Expenditure and worked out affordable arrangements. In respect of rent, at the time of the meeting, the Smiths where £1,809 in rent arrears. LCCU worked out an affordable plan to pay £85 per week using the credit unions bill paying account; this resulted in £10 per week coming off the arrears. This stopped Para Legal Action and saved hundreds of pounds on court costs for the couple.

LCCU also contacted the council in regards to council tax. The couple had arrears plus the current year bill totalling £1,507. Again LCCU helped them to put an affordable arrangement in place meaning that just after April 2016 they would be out of arrears. This stopped the debt going to bailiffs again making a saving on bailiffs fees that can be up to £500.

It also became apparent that the couple also had arrears with Yorkshire Water and LCCU contacted Yorkshire Water and discovered £1910.14 of arrears.

As a result of the contact that was made with Yorkshire Water they decided to put the couple on the Resolve scheme which meant that as long as Mr and Mrs Smith honoured an arrangement of £9 per week for 52 weeks the original arrears would be quashed.

The Smith’s couldn’t thank LCCU enough for our help and couldn’t believe that in just a hour LCCU had helped to sort out their priority payments without making any charge. They said “we will finally be able to sleep tonight”.

Member from Knottingley

Since obtaining a loan and guidance from LCCU this new member has reduced his outgoings and improved his budgeting. With LCCU’s encouragement he has also increased his savings which he has used towards a holiday. The member also used part of his loan to help his wife look for work. The member maintained his loan repayments and this has since allowed him to have a top up loan. In addition on telling his manager about the credit union his colleague has also joined the credit union and applied for his own loan of £5k.