St Albans District Credit Union

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St Albans District Credit Union is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority

  


  © St Albans District Credit Union 2011

St Albans District Credit Union

 Chairman’s Review for 2016 AGM


 

1) 2014/15 was a year with some good growth but areas that were weaker. The outcome overall however continued to be positive. Total membership remained quite steady with junior members increasing but full members showing a slight fall as more non-active crisis loan members were removed from the register. Share deposits increased significantly; up by just over £150,000 in total, with both adult and junior saving showing good growth. However it was again the level of borrowing that presented the Credit Union with its biggest challenge. In the year we granted slightly more Credit Union loans, with a total of 127 and a value of £153,563, compared with 119 and £123,506 respectively in the previous year, but these figures compare with an average of over £200,000 that we were granting in each of the three years prior to this. Consequently, our loan book has been declining for the last two years and at the end of the financial year we had only £222,000 of member’s money out on loan. At that time the total loans granted since formation was just over £1.8 million. Much of this reduction has been due to a tighter control of our lending over the last two years and this, together with the fees received for administering the loan scheme for the District Council, means that we can report a healthy surplus for the year and the Board is again proposing an end of year dividend.   


In the year we also granted 22 Local Authority loans with a value of £40,092, many of which assisted local families into private sector housing. The loan scheme with the District Council is continuing for the 2015/16 year but as reported at last year’s AGM, the arrangement with the County Council to manage their crisis loans lapsed in March 2015.


The Credit Union’s arrangement with both Unite and Unison Trade Unions as their preferred credit union within Hertfordshire has continued, although these arrangements have not yet generated the extra business that we had hoped.


2) In the first quarter of the 2015/16 year, the Credit Union has seen a steady increase in the value of loans granted; £68,000 in the three months. However, it is still proving difficult to attract ‘good’ loan applications and since Christmas there has been a general falling off of applications. The Board and its committees have, for some time, been reviewing ways in which the Credit Union can increase its loans book. Over the past year we have tried a number of methods of marketing new loans, including door to door leaflet drops in targeted areas of St Albans, encouraging existing members with lower interest loyalty loans and targeting local rail travellers with season ticket loans. More recently the Credit Committee has been working on two new loan products; a Christmas Savings Loan and a low interest Homeowner’s Loan which we hope will compete with other loans on the market. Please watch for further details of these loan products over the next month or so.


The best advertisement for the Credit Union is still, however, the recommendations of our members, often resulting from the personal service that we can offer. Repeat loans continue to be a fruitful source of applications and we can normally deal very quickly with these and other applications from existing members. We have money available to be loaned out at competitive rates and I ask that you think of the credit union first if you need a new boiler, a major car repair, that special holiday or a much needed home improvement. We continue to need the active support of all our members.


3) At last year’s AGM, we reported that we were looking at how we could upgrade our IT systems and technology so that we could offer the higher level of service which many consumers are coming to expect. I am pleased to report that, following a successful application, we learnt in December that we had been awarded a grant of £20,000 from the Lloyds Banking Group Credit Union Development Fund to specifically improve our back office systems. A working group is currently reviewing options and the Board is due to look at their proposals at the end of March. It is expected that the improvements will allow online access to member’s accounts, together with providing a more efficient service for members.


4) The office in Hatfield Road continues to be very well used. Harpenden, London Colney and Wheathampstead continue their limited opening and provide an important presence in their communities. We continue to run a single session each Wednesday in the Local Services Hub based in the St Albans Civic Centre.


We were sorry to lose Sheila Broadhead during the year after her long service first as a director and latterly as the office manager in St Albans. Office management is now in the safe hands of Martin Hunt, who is the organisation’s single paid employee.


5) The Marketing Group has sought marketing leads by attending a number of community events and local forums and by visiting hospitals, churches, businesses and community groups. Credit Notes 19 was issued and was distributed to all members and within the local community. Our online presence is becoming increasingly important for the future progress of the organisation and our thanks go to John Humphreys for maintaining and updating our website throughout the year and also to Sarah Galligan for developing the Credit Union’s social media presence.


6) Treasure Chest schemes continue to run in a number of local primary schools. Our thanks go to the teachers and helpers in the various schools.  


7) We continue to participate in local Credit Union Forums where we can share experiences with other credit unions. As a member of ABCUL’s Eastern Region, Board members have attended regional meetings as well as those of the more local Hertfordshire Credit Union Forum  


8) Most importantly I record thanks to all the volunteers and supporters who have kept the credit union running throughout the year; the teams of volunteers within the Hatfield Road office and our other customer centres who are often the public’s first contact with the Credit Union and also those that work often behind the scenes within finance, marketing, credit control and recoveries. I would also like to thank the loans officers who continue to make difficult decisions on our behalf and members of the Supervisory Committee who keep us all in check. This year will see further responsibilities placed on directors by the financial regulators and I would like to thank my colleagues on the Management Board for their commitment to the continued development of the Credit Union.

 

Finally, my thanks go to all those members who have continued to support the work of the Credit Union over many years. Your Board continues to work for the benefit of all its members.



Colin Metcalfe – March 2016



Year 2014/15

Year 2013/14

Members: -         Adult

                  Junior

                             Total

1180

  540

                     1720

1245

  511

                     1756

Savings:-            Adult

£000                   Junior

                            Total

636

  82

                      718

506

 61

                      567

Loans granted: - CU   

£000                     Other

                              Total

154

 40

                      194

123

  96

                      219

Out on loan: -     CU funds

£000                    Other funds

                             Total

222

155

                      377

254

179

                      433

Total Assets £000 (year end)

986

840

Surplus £000        

18.5

23.1