Leeds Credit Union Case Study: How we Helped One of Our Members

By Leeds Credit Union

When one of our members contacted one of our branches in need of support, we were only too happy to help.

The first step was to arrange a telephone appointment with the member, a housing association tenant in full time employment who also receives Universal Credit and had fallen into arrears with her priority bills.

Finding out the key information

In order to ascertain the member's financial situation, we carried out an income and expenditure assessment to get a better picture of how her money was being spent each month. Once we had all the relevant information, we offered to get in touch with her energy suppliers, housing association and the local council to discuss the outstanding payments and the ways in which we could help her start reducing her arrears.

After securing permission to contact it on the member's behalf, we got in touch with Yorkshire Water and applied for her to be put on its Resolve Scheme, a scheme designed to help those experiencing financial difficulties to pay their outstanding bills. We then negotiated with the company to help lower her debt and ensure her future repayments were affordable.

Using our financial expertise

Next, we contacted the council's tax department to find out the member's outstanding balance. After being told that the figure stood at almost £750 for 2021/22, we negotiated with an adviser and agreed to monthly payments of £22 towards the outstanding balance, with a further monthly payment of £75 going towards the current year's billing.

Then, to ensure her housing arrears didn't increase further, we calculated how much rent she could afford to pay and reached an agreement with her housing association on a monthly payment of £22 to reduce her debt in addition to her weekly rent charge. We also agreed to review this figure again if she felt she was struggling to afford it at any point in the future.

Finally, we liaised with British Gas and ascertained that payments of £89 were needed to cover her monthly usage; it was also agreed that she would pay an extra £17 per month to reduce her arrears.

A new Bill Paying Account with LCU

We opened a Leeds Credit Union Bill Paying Account in the member's name so that she could see what funds she had available to her after all the repayments had been taken from her account. This also enabled us to send payments on her behalf, meaning she no longer needed to worry about remembering to pay them. The member was also reassured that she could call us anytime if her circumstances changed or she needed additional help or advice. 

By agreeing fixed monthly repayment amounts with her debtors, we have ensured our member's bills will always be paid on time going forward, while she will also be able to reduce her arrears and still retain access to any surplus money that remains once all her agreed outgoings have been met.

Leeds Credit Union - Here for You in '22

If you need help dealing with debt, our Money and Budgeting Service (MABS) could help get you back on your feet in no time. For more information, click here.