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Demise of Wonga is “Good News”

SVCU does not mourn the placing of notorious payday loans company, Wonga, into administration, thanks to it charging ordinary people loan interest rates of up to 5000%, but warns that the law still allows other payday loans companies to charge up to 1,500%. Well-known names are urging people to use credit unions instead. Read the Read More …

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Stroud District Council grant announced

Stroud District Council has decided to financially support SVCU for another year – the latest in its long history of helping the credit union. Its £10,000 grant will enable us to divert more resources towards helping local people rather than paying for our operations. Read more here.    

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We now offer you the option of joining Stroud Valleys Credit Union online

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Please note our new opening times

From 10th April 2017 our Customer Service Point at Stroud’s Old Town Hall will be open from 11 am to 1 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. This will allow us to respond to your enquiries and requests even more promptly. All of our opening times can be found on our contact page.

Can you help us to build our marketing and publicity team?

We are searching for volunteers to help us to build an effective marketing and publicity strategy. We need people with imaginative, constructive ideas who can help us to make the most of a limited budget! If you think you could help, click here to read the full volunteer description and register your interest.

Find us on Social Media

Have you followed us on social media? We have a dedicated Facebook and Twitter page. It is a great way to keep updated on changes and events happening within Stroud Valleys Credit Union. Click on the icons at the top of the screen to head straight to our pages.

Let Stroud Valleys Credit Union reduce your stress and money worries next Christmas

With 21% of people in the UK using credit to fund the cost of Christmas, and 2 million so worried about the cost that they cancel Christmas altogether, Stroud Valleys Credit Union + Wotton Community Bank are urging people to use its savings accounts to put aside money and make meeting the cost less painful.

A typical family spends £796 at Christmas, according to surveys by YouGov which is far more than many December pay packets can stand and lots of people end up borrowing to try to provide that ‘perfect’ day.
Putting aside some money each month from now until Christmas will build up savings which can help cover the costs and ease any potential money worries come the New Year. In addition, anyone who has a savings account can apply for a loan with an interest rate competitive with those offered by the big financial institutions and lower than those charged by payday lenders, should some extra help be needed to cope with buying presents, food and the many other trimmings.

Opening an account is easy and simple and can be done in person with one of the credit union’s cashier’s or online at https://svcu.org.uk/. Regular payments can be made in person at the office or through a standing order. Stroud Valleys Credit Union has a number of branches: the Old Town Hall, The Shambles, Stroud; the Chipping Club Room in Chipping car park, Wotton-under-Edge; Berkeley Town Hall; Barnardo’s (next to Dursley Primary School), Dursley; and The Arkell Community Centre in Forest Green, Nailsworth. Times of opening are on the credit union’s website https://svcu.org.uk/contact/.

The organisation is run by trained volunteers who live in the Stroud district and offers a real alternative to the big financial institutions, helping to keep money within the community and to support the local economy to grow. Tel: 01453-298785 for more information or visit the website.

“The demise of Wonga is good news for ordinary people” says SVCU directors

Wonga, the well-known payday loan company, has announced that it has gone into administration. It became notorious for stoking up the country’s personal debt crisis through providing very easy-to-obtain loans with extortionately high interest rates of up to 5000%. Described as ‘legal loan sharking’, it has been accused of deliberately targeting financially vulnerable people and for intimidating customers in arrears with fake legal letters and pretend lawyers. However, new Government legislation introduced in 2014 has led to a tidal wave of thousands of compensation claims against the company which it financially couldn’t cope with.

The news has been greeted with delight by directors of Stroud Valleys Credit Union who describe it as a step forward for protecting ordinary people from predatory payday loans companies concerned more with profit than the financial misery their businesses create. But SVCU warns there are still payday companies operating which are legally allowed to charge up to 1,500% interest rates on loans, and are urging anyone needing financial help to talk to SVCU instead.

“Anyone with an existing loan from Wonga will still have to continue with the repayments as their contract with the company is remains legally binding, and the company could well be sold to another lending company.” said the chair of Stroud Valleys Credit Union, John Appleton.

“If anyone finds themselves in financial difficulties, we’d urge them to talk to us to see if we can help. We realise that many people need a loan in order to cope with day-to-day life, whether that’s a small loan to buy a new washing machine or a larger one for a new car. But our reason-for-being is to help our local community, and we specialise in fair and affordable loans which are low cost, have no hidden fees and are people-centred. All of our profits go back into running the company and are shared between our customers.”

Well-known names from Michael Sheen and Martin Lewis to local Stroud MP David Drew are recommending people to use their local credit union to obtain fair financial services which also support their local communities.

David Drew is a founder member of SVCU: “Stroud Valleys Credit Union is a real asset to the people of Stroud, providing fair and flexible ways of borrowing and a great way to save. I’m proud to have been its first member and am pleased it continues to thrive. It’s always provided a community-based way of accessing funds which is invaluable for many people, and offers a real alternative to other more expensive ways of borrowing.”

Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert, said the firm’s collapse was a cause for celebration. “Wonga’s payday loans were the crack cocaine of debt – unneeded, unwanted, unhelpful, destructive and addictive. Its behaviour was immoral, from using pretend lawyers to threaten the vulnerable, to pumping its ads out on children’s TV.”

Hollywood actor Michael Sheen launched his ‘End High Cost Credit’ Alliance launched a few months ago and, in his role as Patron of Credit Unions Wales, is encouraging people to use their local credit union as a place to obtain fair and affordable loans and to help develop a financial organisation that supports their local community.

“At the moment, only a tiny percentage of people in the UK are members of a credit union. Now if we could change that to 20% of people in the country or 50% of the people, we could really make this a different much, much fairer country. I’m a member of a credit union because I want to be part of making that happen. If you want to be part of making that happen, then find out where your local credit union is and join up.”

Listen to Michael talk about credit unions at the link below (opens in Youtube)
Youtube: recorded to mark International Credit Union Day in October 2017.

Stroud District Council supports Stroud Valleys Credit Union once again

We’re very pleased to announce that Stroud District Council (SDC) has decided to give us another year’s financial support. The £10,000 grant will help us to meet our running costs and pay for our office in the Old Town Hall in The Shambles, Stroud. It’s the latest in SDC’s long history of helping the credit union.

The grant from Stroud District Council makes a valuable contribution towards keeping the credit union going. “Because we’re a volunteer-run co-operative, this grant means we can direct more of our resources to helping local people rather than paying for our operations. The £10,000 will contribute towards the rent we pay for the credit union’s office in the Old Town Hall in The Shambles.” Said John Appleton, SVCU’s Chair of Directors.

He continued “We’re so pleased that the district council, through this grant, has shown its support for helping local people can become more financially resilient by making sure they can access to our services.  Plus everyone doing business with Stroud Valleys Credit Union is helping to support the local economy.”

Karon Johnson, Business Support Officer for Stroud District Council, said “Stroud District Council councillors are pleased to award this grant to Stroud Valleys Credit Union which forms part of our work to support organisations that are helping vulnerable people in times of hardship.”