Real member experiences

Rainy day savings - Member through Clarion Housing group

I opened a Leeds Credit Union Christmas club savings account in 2017 and saved a very small amount regularly via monthly payroll deduction.  The account was easy to set up and due to only saving a small amount I often forget about it building up. I hadn’t withdrawn from the account in the previous years as I thought I would let it build up for a rainy day.

In March this year for our family like so many others had the rainy day.  It was then as the Coronavirus lockdown was introduced that my husband was laid off work and suddenly lost all his income.  

We were grateful to remain healthy but the challenges of managing with three children on a 50% household income reduction overnight took its toll.  

I remembered that I had the LCU Christmas club savings which could be withdrawn in November in time for Christmas. I was pleased to realise that the amount I had saved would not only take care of the children’s Christmas presents if needed but also their birthdays which are all near to Christmas.  I am so pleased I had squirreled this money away, as it means one less thing to worry about.

I would encourage everyone to start saving no matter how small; it couldn’t be easier via standing order or if you are part of the employer scheme via payroll deduction. You never know when the rainy day will come. 

Member from Wakefield

Mr H found himself struggling with his finances. He was unable to pay his council tax and rent and found himself spiraling out of control. Everything got on top of him and before he knew it he was inundated with arrears letters. Mr H shut himself away to try and escape the debts, but they just kept piling up to the point where he was at risk of a warrant.

Working together, Leeds Credit Union and the WDH Cash Wise team paired together to help Mr H get back on track. After a home visit, a membership account was opened and Mr H was able to receive some benefits again. With the help & guidance of Leeds Credit Union a bill paying account was opened and an affordable budget plan was put together, and Mr H was able to start paying his bills again.

After years of not leaving his house Mr H now takes a weekly trip into his local branch in the WDH Hub where he can collect his money knowing that all of his bills have been paid.

Member from Knottingley, Wakefield

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.

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 Brighton, East Sussex

I have been a resident with Clarion Housing for about 7 years.  I was introduced to Leeds Credit Union when I moved into my flat as a saving plan. I save about £20 a month and it helps for emergencies.  Its so easy to withdraw, just a phone call and the money is transferred into my bank account.

I have been playing the violin for about 7 years too as a mature student and the Leeds Credit Union lent me the money to buy a really good violin and bow for my studies. I have now just passed my Grade 6 ABRSM school of music exam at the age of 56 and hope to take my Grade 7 next year which is an entry qualification to study music at University level.

Leeds Credit union have been a tremendous help and the staff are always helpful.

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 Greater London

I've had a loan with these [Leeds Credit Union] they helped me pay my rent and to get all new bedding and mattresses for my boys. The staff are lovely and being able to have a top up around Christmas really helps.

Member from Castleford, Wakefield

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 Halton, Leeds

Credit Union saved me hundreds of £'s in August 2016 as they allowed me to transfer a loan I had with [another company] who were charging me £426.00 per month for a loan and credit union offered me a loan to pay this horrendously expensive one off and saved me a staggering £229.00 per month.

I was with [the other company] as I had some financial difficulties some years ago and this was the only company willing to take me on to repair my history, fortunately I am back on track again now for several years, and wish to thank Credit Union so much for this - will be looking to borrow again soon.

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