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Welcome to the 3rd edition of Pioneer Mutual Credit Unions newsletter.
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Welcome to Pioneer Mutual Credit Unions third newsletter.

It's been a great start to 2017, as we have been granted agency banking status, the first credit union in Scotland to achieve this, and we have also just launched our new website, www.pioneercu.coop. You can read about the great new features in this edition. 

We have entered into the final stage of implementation for the new system, being provided as part of the part of the Cornerstone Transformation Project funded by the Department of Work and Pensions,  and we will be contacting members in the near future to give them details of the changes and what this means for our members. The office will be closed on Saturday 25th of March for the 'dress rehearsal' of migration to the new system, and we apologise for the inconvenience caused. The office will also close on the day we migrate to the new system, and we will give as much notice as possible of the closure, we will post this information in branch, on social media and on our website. 

If you are interested in finding out more about the new system we will offer please contact hello@pioneercu.coop or 0141 881 1353. You can also now apply online to become a member or apply for loan visit www.pioneercu.coop

In this issue you'll find articles on:

Learning from our American Counterparts
Our new website is live
Working In Partnership With Scotcash
Changes to Financial Services Compensation Scheme 
Do the Benefits changes from April 2017 affect you?
Welcome to Amanda
Funding Success

Learning from our American Counterparts

Beth, our Business Development Manager, was lucky enough to be selected to attend the CUNA Community Credit Union and National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions Conference in Dallas in November.

As part of their commitment to the learning and development of British credit union leaders, Citi sponsored Beth's attendance, and that of four other credit unions; Trisha Butler - Drumchapel Community Credit Union, Phil Cole - Advance Credit Union, Kathryn Fogg - Pennine Community Credit Union, Jackie Simpson - Somerset Savings and Loans. 

While in Dallas, they also got the chance to visit Neighbourhood Credit Union, whose CEO Chet Kimmell and his team took time out of their busy schedule to share some of their incredible experience and ideas. 

Beth's thoughts on the trip were: "I am new to credit unions, and it was great to see the strength of the movement in action across the globe. It was also reassuring to learn that although we operate on a much smaller scale, we face many of the same issues as our American counterparts, so size doesn't matter. I have taken many ideas back and feel the experience will have a positive impact on Pioneer Mutual."

Our new website is live

Our new website includes lots of great new features, including a loan calculator, budget planner, online membership applications and loan applications; more online functionality will follow with the launch of the new system, including an instant loan at an APR of 19.6% and an improved members area.

The loan calculator will allow you not only to select the level of loan but also the term so you can see just how much you are saving by choosing a Pioneer Mutual Credit Union loan. 

Working In Partnership with...

We are pleased to announce that we are now working in partnership with Scotcash. This new partnership is an extension of Scotcash's Savings Service. 

You don’t need to be a Scotcash customer to open a savings account through them.

Changes to Financial Services Compensation Scheme 

There is a new deposit protection limit in place, and savings are now protected through FSCS to a maximum of £85,000. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact a member of the team on 0141 881 1353. 

Please visit the FSCS website for further details. 

Do the Benefits changes from April 2017 affect you?


Changes to Housing Benefit 
The government are making a number of changes to benefits and tax credits for people with children. One of these is to remove the extra amount of £17.45, given to people with children, which is known as the 'family premium'. 

  • In Housing Benefit the family premium will be abolished for new claims or new births on or after 1st May 2016.
This change will affect you if you:
  • are making a new claim for Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credits or Universal Credit
  • have one or more children and
  • have some income or earnings coming in

If you are already claiming, have some income or earnings, and your first child is due after the family premium is abolished, you will also be affected because of the new births rule.

If you are already claiming one of these benefits and have a child you will keep the family premium. However, you may be affected if you need to make a new claim in the future, for example, if you move to a property which falls outside your current local authority area.

Changes to Child Tax Credit 
Child Tax Credit will be limited to 2 children, so that any subsequent children born after April 2017 will not be eligible for further support.

In addition to the 2 child limit the ‘family element’ of £545 per year will be abolished. In effect this will mean that families with one or more children born before April 2017 

Sources of advice and support

Money Advice Scotland personal budget planner: Budget Planner

Anyone looking for assistance with benefit or debt advice should contact the Money Advice and Rights Team (MART) on 0141 577 8420, or email mart@eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk, or text MART to 80800 followed by your name for free, confidential and impartial advice.               

Welcome to Amanda 

In September we were successful  in our bid to The Scottish Government Credit Union Junior Savers Fund. The funding has been awarded to enable us to set up Junior Savers Schemes in selected schools across East Renfrewshire; the project aims to encourage positive financial habits from a young age. As part of the project we have recruited Amanda, as our Project Co-ordinator who will lead our Scottish Govenrnment Schools Project. Amanda has been working closely with schools across East Renfrewshire, including:
  • St Luke's High
  • St Mark's Primary 
  • St Thomas' Primary
  • Eaglesham Primary
Amanda has delivered the first of her financial workshops to Eaglesham Primary and to Police Scotland Youth Volunteers, which have entered on credit scores and real life budgeting.
 
As part of the project some The schools have also be taking part in the  Wildhearts Micro-Tyco challenge as part of the project; as we belief that the savings and ethical finance practices the Credit Union promote works hand in hand with the entrepreneurial skills learnt through the challenge.

We are also in talks with other schools across the local authority, so if you’re interested in receiving support to set up a credit union within your school, please contact Amanda to discuss your requirements.

Funding Success

Pioneer Mutual Credit Union has been awarded a £50,000 grant by Lloyds Banking Group to enable it to increase its reserves to expand the common bond across the West of Scotland. The money will allow the credit union to provide a better service to their members and increase their outreach activities. 

Stephen Walsh, Pioneer Mutual Credit Union said: "The timing of this grant couldn’t be better after the Christmas period; the funding will allow us to grow our membership without effecting the products or great service our members have come to expect."

We are amongst 21 credit unions across the country that are benefitting from £1m in grants from Lloyds Banking Group, delivered through the Credit Union Foundation. Lloyds has committed to provide £1m each year for four years and this award is the third wave of funding to be released. The investment should enable the credit union sector to lend an additional £20million to their customers.

Philip Grant, Chair of the Scottish Executive Committee for Lloyds Banking Group, said, “Credit unions play a vital role in local communities and these grants will help them to provide improved access to financial services in Scotland. I am delighted with the announcement of these grants which underlines our commitment to help Britain prosper”.

Liz Barclay, Chair of the Credit Union Foundation and Development Fund Grants Committee said: “The Credit Union Foundation is proud to work in partnership with Lloyds Banking Group. Their £4 million investment over four years is innovative and pioneering and now that we're into the third year of the scheme we're seeing a big impact on sustainable credit union growth.  Credit unions provide an ethical and affordable financial service to some of the hardest to reach and most financially excluded communities in the UK. We're seeing good quality applications for these capital awards from credit unions committed to expanding and improving the services they offer those communities." 

That's all, folks..


Remember to follow us on Social Media to keep up to date with Pioneer Mutual Credit Unions news and the exciting changes. 
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Pioneer Mutual Credit Union Ltd. is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority:  FRN 213761
T: 0141 881 1353 F: 0141 881 5853 email: hello@pioneer.coop