In the past, the many benefits of credit unions had to be balanced against the fact that the organisations in question were often fairly small scale and run by excellent volunteers. Modern credit unions, on the other hand, are highly professional organisations which offer a genuine alternative to high street banks and other loan providers. It’s also important to realise that any money you save with a Credit Union will be as secure as money saved anywhere else. Credit unions in the UK are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulatory Authority. This means, amongst other things, that any money you save in your credit union account – up to £85,000 – is protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, so if there’s a crash like that which took place in 2007/8 you can be assured your money is safe at PCCU. Credit union benefits also include many of the convenience you’d expect to find offered by a high street bank or building society. The credit union itself will offer a variety of savings accounts and affordable loans, online accounts facilities, with a prepaid Visa debit card account with access to ATM’s, mobile app and the ability to have your wages paid directly to your account and everything else you need to organise your finances properly is now available from credit unions.
The convenience, security and facilities of larger organisations, however, are combined with other unique credit union benefits. These benefits are particularly apparent if you’re in the position where you need to borrow some money from your credit union. Whether the loan in question arises from an emergency such as vital car repairs or is needed to fund an annual holiday or increased spending at Christmas, there are numerous options available, each with positive and negative points. Here at PCCU we think that the benefits of credit unions far outweigh those offered by other organisations, and these are just a few of the reasons why:
Not-for-Profit – we run for our account holders, not for profit. Our account holders are our shareholders; we aim not to increase our interest rates simply to bring in more money. On the contrary, we are run for the benefit of our members and the wider community, and it is this ethical stance which runs through everything we do.
Interest rates – we set our interest rates as low as they possibly can be. In many cases, the rates offered by other lenders fail to match up to those which are featured in advertising material, whereas, with PCCU, what you see is what you get. In fact, the law says that we can’t charge rates higher than 3% a month (which is 42.6% APR). Our commitment to low-interest rates is about more than the law, however, as it’s all about the fact that we want to help our members access funds and arrange their finances.
Personal Treatment – one of the key credit union benefits is the fact that you’ll be treated as one human being to another. When you apply for a loan your application will be dealt with by a person rather than a computer. We’ll do our best to lend you an amount of money which you can afford to repay, and all the time you’re repaying you’ll also be building up your savings. Another one of the benefits of credit unions is that you won’t be charged a penalty if you’re in a position to pay your loan back ahead of schedule.
Simplicity – as long as you’ve provided all of the information we’ve asked for, we try to reach a decision on all loan applications within a day, and the maximum length of time you’ll be waiting is two days. Once the loan has been approved, it can be made via a BACS payment on the same day.
In the simplest possible terms, the key credit union benefits rise from the fact that you’re a member and not simply a customer, and our loans and other services are designed to benefit all of our members.