What have PCCU done for the community during the coronavirus pandemic?
At times of crisis and hardship credit unions across the world emerge to help our account holders. As the coronavirus pandemic began to really affect the lives of people in our community in March, as a community based credit union we knew that account holders would need our savings and loan services more than ever.
Credit unions, in particular, have obligations to their communities that large banks do not. At this time of need, there is a call for financial help – who will step up? Do we pull back and wait until things get better, or do we help our credit union members come out on top?
PCCU was well positioned to continue as normal when the branches were forced to close in March 2020. Credit union information was distributed prior to closing to account holders in branch, through social media, email and telephone conversations.
- PCCU’s secure messaging Nivo app allows account holders to transact with their account, withdrawals and loan applications can be completed from start to finish with integrated e-signature, open banking and BACS payments during office hours
- The Online Accounts Area allows 24/7 account access for balances, withdrawals and loan applications
- We attempted to contact every account holder who regularly visited the branches to transact in cash to arrange alternative payment methods. It was nice to catch up with familiar voices too!
- Throughout the pandemic our telephone lines have been operated by friendly members of staff – a team effort that many account holders have praised as a seamless service
I am usually at working during the opening hours of the credit union so this was a quick and easy alternative, when I am unable to get to a branch, and great during this time when we are all isolating….. thank you
PCCU account holder
We welcomed account holders back into branch in late May 2020. Covid-19 secure measures were implemented throughout the branches to make both our account holders and staff feel reassured we were taking all possible steps to minimise community spread.
Between the 23rd March 2020 and 11th November PCCU issued £8.2 million in loans to local people in the community. Whilst welcoming 573 new families to our Family Loan and Saving Scheme. Overall the savings we are trusted to look after by account holders has risen by £1.4 million.
If our account holders borrowed the same amount from the biggest non-standard lender in the UK, members of the community would pay an extra £6.6 million in interest. We are proud to be seen as a safe place to save, an ethical and affordable place to borrow.
The PCCU Christmas Savings Account opened in November for savers to withdraw the savings they had been depositing throughout the year for the festive period. This year we are thrilled to share that our local community saved over £230,000 in this account. £80,000 of that being from our Family Loan account holders alone – which is amazing and really helps people in the local community. That is a 53% increase on last year’s saving total, find out more about the account here
The Christmas savings account has been a life saver. I’ve always struggled around Christmas time but having this has made it a lot better for me, thank you very much.
PCCU account holder
We can see clearly that account holders during the pandemic have been borrowing to start and complete home improvement projects, many informed PCCU being lockdown in their houses was motivating them make the ‘house more homely’. A number purchased new household equipment such as TVs and entertainment systems, whilst a large number looked to borrow to make up for lost income or to be able to afford to bulk buy food.
No-one knows when the pandemic will be over, or when we can get back to normal however we can assure the community that the credit union will be here to help and support people until it is over.