On 10 June 2019 we celebrate 20 years since our credit union was formed by a group of colleagues at Hull City Council by welcoming the Deputy Lord Mayor of Kingston upon Hull, Councillor Lynn Petrini, to Brook Street. We've come a long way in those 20 years, evolving into a member-owned organisation with 15,000 adult members and junior savers, looking after £12 million assets that serves the whole Humber Region and selected employers beyond. We've made a big difference to people's lives, as we reckon we've saved people at least £18 million in loan interest charges as well as helping many to catch the habit of regular saving for the first time in their lives. Here's to the next 20 years!
Following a member consultation, we selected Yorkshire Air Ambulance as the HEYCU Charity of the Year 2019.
In the spring we launched our Mobile App, enabling members to access their accounts, make funds transfers and send enquiries 24/7. We also speeded up funds transfers by using Faster Payments.
With support from Winterton 2022 Big Local, we relaunched our Winterton School Bank and expanded our presence in the town, with drop in sessions at the Hub, Cornerstone Café and the Co-op on Wednesdays.
We were delighted when Lincolnshire Co-operative made us their Community Champions at three of their stores, resulting in some welcome funding to support our outdoor marketing campaigns.
Our 2019 Member Survey produced an excellent response rate of 8.3% and gave us a great insight into our member's opinions. There was 80% acceptance of a new trading name - HEY Credit Union - recognising that we have expanded well beyond our original Hull & East Yorkshire boundaries. It was very gratifying that 96% of members said they would recommend us as "responsible lenders" too.
Withernsea Big Local Partnership decided to make a social investment in us, enabling our local branch to extend its opening times with a Credit Union Champion and greater involvement with the community. The aim is to make Withernsea a Credit Union Town - a "no go area" for high cost credit but a safe haven for responsible common sense money.
We were appreciative of the support given to us by the Lloyds Banking Group Credit Union Development Fund, helping us to continue growing and expanding the supply of affordable credit across our region.
On the Nunsthorpe Estate in Grimsby, with the support of Melanie Onn MP, we launched a CU@Centre4 Christmas Saver club, offering bonuses to new savers funded by the Stop Loan Sharks Team. At Andrew Marvell Youth Centre in Hull a new Street Games partnership allowed young people to deposit money into a junior saver account each time they attend a sports event, while educating them about the dangers of loan sharks.
Our latest payroll partnership, with North East Lincolnshire Council, began in March, enabling their workforce to save and borrow with us direct from their pay.
We were re-accredited as an Investor in People for three more years, and donated a further £1,000 to the CU Futures Programme as part of our commitment to the next generation of credit union leaders.
A new Pennies 2 Pounds school bank opened at Barlow Church of England Primary School near Selby.
In August our members’ loan book passed the £4 million mark for the first time. Spring and Summer Loan Sales, featuring up to 15% off the normal interest rates on loans from £2,000 to £7,500, proved extremely popular. Uptake of our Child Benefit Loan & Savings Plan tripled in the year and we allowed members to top up their loans more frequently.
We supported ABCUL’s Work not Worry campaign, aimed at making more employers aware of the financial well-being benefits of including credit union payroll deductions in the staff rewards package. For our payroll partners we ran a summer-long Refer a Colleague incentive, with the first prize Fit Bit Activity wristband won by a member in Newcastle.
We took part in filming for BBC1’s second series A Matter of Life & Debt, which was broadcast on 20 November. It showed how we were able to help one of our members improve his life by switching from high-cost credit to a CU Loan. This brought many more enquiries and new members to our branches.
£735 was donated to Aim Higher, a local charity supporting families affected by autism, mental health issues and educational challenges, following a year of fund raising activity including collections at the AGM and staff events and a Cupcake Day run by our Goole Members’ Group.
Two of our long-serving volunteers – Edwin King and Billy Briggs – retired from active duty and a lunch was given in their honour by Driffield Members’ Group.
The Lord Mayor of Kingston upon Hull selected our headquarters in Brook Street to site a Centenary Wall Plaque commemorating the contribution to the life of the city of Lord James Peddie, a prominent co-operator and one time chairman of the Co-operative Permanent Building Society.
We issued our 50,000th Credit Union Loan.
At the AGM in December, members voted to disband the Credit Committee and apply to extend our common bond to all YO postcodes and all departments of HM Government. The dividend was raised after much improved annual results.
We switched over to a new user-friendly website in May, which enables easier navigation on smartphones, tablets, laptops or desk.
On 10th June we marked our 18th anniversary. We hosted a visit by members of the Pen Fed Credit Union of Georgia, USA, who were thrilled to share in our “coming of age” celebrations by helping to cut a decorated cake in the presence of directors, staff and volunteers.
In July, we became one of only a dozen financial institutions to be awarded the prestigious 5-star Fairbanking Mark by the Fairbanking Foundation, for our CU Loan product.
We opened new contact points at Winterton (N Lincs), Howden, Hemingbrough and Grimsby, and two more school banks, to extend our reach into the community that we serve.
At our Central Office in Hull city centre, working with our partners Co-op Energy, we introduced a package of energy saving measures including LED lighting and solar panels on the roof to generate “green electricity”.
In the autumn we hosted a meeting of the ABCUL Larger Credit Unions Group and provided a guided tour of Hull’s historic Old Town for guests during our memorable year as UK City of Culture.
The Hull Branch of UNISON, the public service union, became our main Members’ Lottery sponsor.
We introduced new loan products: Swap & Drop - for members looking to save money by consolidating existing credit commitments; Child Benefit Loan & Savings Plan - to help families to manage their money wisely by combining sensible borrowing and regular saving; and Flexi-Credit to help our payroll members to cope with unexpected bills.
We worked with the England Illegal Money Lending Team (ILMT) to raise awareness of the dangers of borrowing from “loan sharks” and the availability of more affordable credit options. In recognition of the impact made, the IMLT presented HEYCU with their National Champions Award.
At the 2015 AGM we launched our Members’ Charter and Promises, designed to set out in an easy to digest way the levels of service and customer care that our members are entitled to expect when dealing with us.
A new affiliation was launched at the 2015 AGM with The Co-operative Energy to enable our members to save money on their gas and electric bills by switching to this leading ethical utility provider.
In February we were selected, alongside two other leading credit unions (Commsave CU and Voyager Alliance CU), to provide the employees of the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) with our payroll deduction scheme. Our new partnership, officially launched in the Houses of Parliament by Lord Freud in July, has already attracted 1,500 members across the three credit unions.
A local launch also took place at Britannia House, Hull supported by Hull West & Hessle MP Alan Johnson.
In July we were one of ten credit unions to be selected to benefit from a programme of support from the Barclays Credit Union Development Project. This includes loan book development, financial capability and promoting equality and diversity.
From July, we suspended the £3 joining fee for new members.
We became involved with two Big Local Projects, in the Greatfield area of Hull and in Winterton, North Lincolnshire to make residents aware of credit union products and services.
Directors have signed up to the new ABCUL Academy which provides a range of new tailored training opportunities.
We sponsored Eastern Raiders Football Club, for their 2015-16 playing season who took our name and message into all corners of the county, sporting the Credit Union name and logo on their kits.
The Engage Classic Debit card and Engage Current Account were introduced as alternatives to our Credit Union Current Account (CUCA), in light of its withdrawal.
Following a Rule Change agreed at the AGM 2014, Supervisory Committee disbanded and was replaced by an Audit Committee, chaired by a professional accountant.
In March, we received an Investors in People Bronze Award. Our next target is to go for gold!
On 13 April 2015, we merged with North Lincolnshire Credit Union who became Northern Lincolnshire Credit Union part of Hull & East Yorkshire Credit Union (NLCU). This brought 1,200 members and half a million in assets into HEYCU. The merger was supported with funding from North Lincolnshire Council, Lloyds Banking Group/CU Foundation and the Credit Union Expansion Project.
Two new loan products were launched - Matched Loan and Business Start-up Loans. Our Credit Union Loan became easier to apply for when we made an online application option available.
Our Matched Bonus Christmas Saver promotion recruited 300 new savers. There were special fun days in branches and the Mayor of Withernsea dropped in to join.
Through the year, we opened a new contact point in Old Goole, along with seven new Pennies 2 Pounds school banks across East Yorkshire.
An Employees' Council was established, with them devising a Members' Charter as its first project. Volunteer training courses were also developed for online access.
We campaigned for more employers to become payroll partners via the Humber Chamber of Commerce. The Hull College Group became the first employer to respond.
In Northern Lincolnshire we held recruitment drives at the Council and Ongo Group, and launched a project with the Winterton 2022 Big Local Group to bring our services to the town. A Local Members' Group was established for NLCU members.
Our Driffield branch celebrated their tenth anniversary with a special event in September.
We signed up for the CUEP Transformation Programme which will see our IT systems replaced in 2016 with a new platform bringing online and mobile facilities and speedier services within reach of all members.
During 2015 our total assets passed the £10 million mark (with 16% year on year growth), making us one of the largest Credit Unions in Britain.
At the end of January, with support from the two local authorities, over 500 Hull and East Yorkshire residents were introduced to the benefits of saving up for the festive season. Each person who opened a Christmas Saver account was awarded a £10 starter bonus, and a further £5 if they referred a friend to open one too.
In February, we opened a new branch to serve the northern part of our common bond in Wetwang.
We launched a new loan product in April, designed for the bigger purchases in life, offering competitive rates.
In August, we launched an online enrollment facility on our website. This now means that people can join the Credit Union without having to visit a branch.
By the end of 2014, adult membership had passed the 11,000 mark, while junior savers rose to over 1,000.
This year we were chosen along with 30 other leading credit unions to work on the first phase of the Credit Union Expansion Project, a £35 million contract funded by the Department of Work and Pensions and delivered by ABCUL, our trade body. The project aims to provide credit unions with the tools, products and services to help them modernise and expand to serve a million more consumers, saving them £1 billion in interest charges by 2019.
Following legal reforms we were able to take organisations into membership as well as individuals for the first time, and so we launched a Community Account aimed at helping clubs, societies, charities and social enterprises to manage their money in the best possible way.
At Goole, with the support of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, we established Pennies 2 Pounds Clubs in five local primary schools to encourage the children, their parents and teachers to save. The first school bank, at Boothferry Primary School, was featured on ITV Calendar News!
Our Driffield Branch relocated to a more central part of the town in March, and then in May we opened a new weekly branch for South Holderness, at The Shores Centre in Withernsea. Shortly afterwards the Centre received a visit from HRH The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, and our Chief Executive took part in a special Seaside Radio show to showcase to them the work of our credit union.
On International Credit Union Day The Bishop of Hull joined our growing ranks of Credit Union Members, who at the close of year exceeded 10,000 adults and 940 junior savers.
In November, we introduced an Automated Loans Processing system to modernise the processing of loans.
At the AGM in December, members voted for a Rule Book change to extend our Common Bond to include postcode areas YO14 (Filey and Hunmanby), YO11 (Malton and district), YO8 (Selby and district) and the whole of DN14 (Goole villages).
By the end of 2013 we had issued our 30,000th loan and our members collectively owned savings of more than £7 million.
New Credit Union legislation took effect in January 2012, allowing us to offer more services. A new Rule Book was adopted, voted by our members at our Special General Meeting in April 2012. It was officially registered in August, further to the credit union laws changing. This allowed us to offer accounts to organisations and advertise an interest rate instead of a Dividend if we wish.
In May 2012 we attended the House of Lords to receive a National Award for Excellence in Marketing. The judges said 'When reviewing this submission it quickly became clear to the judges the huge amount of effort and time that this credit union has put into making their future a bright one. Hull & East Yorkshire Credit Union built a fully comprehensive marketing strategy incorporating all aspects of marketing from e-newsletters and posters to social media and creating a smart phone app - with the aim of increasing public awareness and membership as well as image perception.'
Alan Johnson MP, Diana Johnson MP and Karl Turner MP visited our central office in July to celebrate our Marketing Award.
In the same month, we changed the Goole branch opening times for easier access to members, spread through the week on Tuesdays and Fridays.
September saw the Bridlington branch benefit from a full refit of the office, improving facilities for members and staff. This included new counters, spacious queuing and waiting area, and re-decoration. The Mayor of Bridlington visited the branch to celebrate with us.
We launched our Pre-Paid card to members in September, allowing them to load funds onto the card and use the VISA facility to shop online and use in shops.
In early 2011, staff colleagues Melisa, Sandra and Tracy were among the first in the country to gain merits in the IFS professional qualification 'Award in Credit Union Practice'.
In mid April 2011 one of the most momentous events in our history took place. Our Hull branch was successfully relocated from Hull Business Centre to Brook Street, right in the heart of Hull city centre. We acquired the freehold of the premises which now forms an asset on our balance sheet for the benefit of future generations of HEYCU members.
This was followed by further marketing developments, including a bright new look for our Credit Union brand in April 2011, drawing everyone's attention to the Credit Union as The Fairer Alternative.
Diana Johnson MP visited the central office in July 2011.
Just over a year later, in April 2011, we passed the £5 million mark. In June 2011 our adult membership went over the 8,000 mark.
The branch was virtually opened by Martin Lewis (Money Saving Expert) in September 2011.
Members became more aware of our services through the expansion of our marketing which included TV screens being installed in the central office in November 2011. At this stage we had also relaunched the website for better access to our members.
Through 2009 and 2010, three new insurance products were introduced by CUNA (now discontinued).
Our new Bridlington branch followed in January 2010, relocating to a more central area at 18 Prospect Street. The opening times at Bridlington were also extended following the move.
Our members' savings reached over £4 million in February 2010.
We received further support from local MPs in June 2010. Alan Johnson MP and Graham Stuart MP visited our Hull branch as part of our celebrations for Co-op Fortnight.
During 2010, several staff booked onto various ABCUL training courses. These included self-paced E-learning courses and also professional qualifications. A staff pension scheme also became available toward the end of 2010.
August 2010 saw our marketing strategy develop. We sent out our first quarterly email to our members.
In the Christmas season of 2010, there was a record pay out of Christmas savings of £235k, along with our highest ever number of loans granted.
July 2009 was a time for celebration! We invited our founder members to our Hull Central branch to commemorate Ten Years of the People's Business. In our first ten years, we had become one of Britain's most progressive and rapidly expanding credit unions, with over 6,000 members owning between them assets of £3.6 million. We had created 14 new jobs and shared out over £400,000 in profits to our members as Dividends.
In August 2009, we reduced our interest rate to on Personal Loans (now named the Saver Loan), and our Current Accounts passed the 1,000 mark.
Our first ever High Street branch opened at 22 Pasture Road, Goole in September 2009. The branch was officially opened in October, by Ian Cawsey MP.
A new telephone system in our offices in October 2009 meant a smoother service for our members.
A major development took place at Hull Central to improve security and the environment for members, customers and staff; including new teller points and cash facilities installation.
We launched a Loyalty Saver account to cater for members who wanted to earn a better return.
HEYCU became one of nine credit unions nationally to pioneer a new Credit Union Current Account in February. This filled a gap in our service provision, allowing our members to conduct all their banking needs through the organisation they had come to trust - their friendly local credit union.
Membership passed the 4,000 milestone and we were delighted to enrol Diana Johnson MP as our 4,000th member.
We launched a Christmas Saver to help members save for their festive treats. We wanted to give members an alternative following the collapse of the unregulated Farepak hamper club.
In 2006 a big project began to promote access to affordable credit for people on low incomes, many of whom previously had little choice but to borrow from doorstep lenders at extortionate interest rates. We now reckon to have saved our members over £6 million in interest charges that they would otherwise have paid to high-cost lenders.
On 17 February, Alan Johnson MP visited Hull Central Office to learn of our progress seven years after he helped to launch it in 1999, and to find out how we were supporting the Governments financial inclusion agenda.
Active branches, run with the help of volunteers, were now established in Driffield, Beverley and Bridlington, bringing our services close to the heart of local communities. In Driffield our First Savers groups now ran savings clubs in six primary schools.
In a unique link up with Hull City Council in the spring, HEYCU began working closely with the Housing Department to provide interest-refundable HomeCheque loans to enable City homeowners to fund necessary repairs to bring their property up to the Decent Homes standard.
Our members made use of the PayPoint cards which we started to issue.
This very website was first launched!
HEYCU was registered in March 2004 and later in the year, Hull City Council, the original sponsoring body, approved a start-up support package, including secondment of staff, to facilitate its roll-out to the wider community. Further funding and/or in-kind support was also secured from: East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Hull Community Investment Fund, European Regional Development Fund, The Co-operative Group, Association of British Credit Unions, Goodwin Development Trust, UNISON and GMB Trade Unions.
In July 2004 the Central Office moved from Hull Guildhall to a more accessible location on the ground floor of Hull Business Centre, sharing its prestigious Queens Gardens address with some of Hull's major institutions - Hull College, the City Treasury, Humberside Police and the BBC!
Credit union services, by payroll deduction, became available to all who work at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Hull College, Bishop Burton College, Goodwin Development Trust and the Ambulance Service.
In September 2003, the FSA agreed that East Yorkshire represented a valid common bond. A HEYCU Project Board was established to manage the transition from an employee credit union to one potentially serving a population of some 535,000. By the autumn of 2003 members' share capital had reached £1.5 million.
Two further (part-time) jobs had been created and there was a band of some 15 volunteers serving on the Board of Directors and various other Committees, plus about 50 workplace representatives within Hull City Council.
At their Strategic Planning Day in 2002, CHCU's Board decided to accept the challenge of expansion and in fact go a stage further. East Riding of Yorkshire Council were also interested in the potential for credit unions to help regenerate local communities and credit union activists were busy in places such as Goole, Withernsea and Bridlington aiming to set up their own community credit unions. It seemed sensible for them to work together on a project to bring credit union services to the whole area, as was happening in other parts of Britain. And so the vision of a countywide credit union for all who live or work in Hull and East Yorkshire came into being.
It was a significant challenge, but CHCU had many factors in its favour: Loyal members, an excellent track record of growth, enthusiastic volunteers and staff with lots of varied skills.
CHCU's members voted for a Hull and East Yorkshire Credit Union at their 2002 AGM and work began in earnest to convince the Financial Services Authority (the new Government regulator of credit unions) that East Yorkshire represented a valid 'common bond' as required by law.
The year 2001 was a busy one, with new services added to the basic savings and loans facility, namely a First Savers Club for under 16s, Members' Lottery, and discount shopping vouchers. CHCU also became an employer for the first time, with one part-time administrator, later moving to full-time.
By December, funds out on loan exceeded 100% of share capital and CHCU was firmly acknowledged as one of the fastest growing credit unions in the country.
Of course, at this time, CHCU was still only open to Hull City Council employees and their immediate families, its Office somewhat buried within the Council's headquarters building. However, the legal restrictions on credit unions were now relaxing. Indeed, a study by Liverpool John Moore's University advocated a move to larger credit unions, open to everyone living or working in an area, properly resourced with staff, IT and professional marketing strategies. Only in this way, it argued, would credit unions be able to champion financial inclusion, combat the loan sharks and make a lasting impact on local communities.
In the light of this report, Hull City Council commissioned the Association of British Credit Unions (ABCUL) to make a feasibility study into the options for credit union development in the City. Having spoken with several key strategic players in the local economy, the study recommended a 'live or work' credit union for the City, provided its start-up stage could be adequately resourced. It saw CHCU as the base for this development.
By the end of year one, over 500 members had joined and had managed to save an incredible £300,000, beating all the three-year targets set in the initial Business Plan. More good news soon followed:
A survey of members scored CHCU 9+ out of 10 for a whole range of customer care indicators - an excellent result for what was essentially a volunteer-run organisation, whose volunteers mostly had to fit their credit union duties around their Council day jobs.
Also, at the 2000 AGM the first ever dividend - 3% on members' savings was declared and the 1,000th member joined.
HEYCU was established in 1999 as City of Hull Credit Union (CHCU), by a group of Hull City Council employees. Their aim was to set up a financial services co-operative that would provide them and their colleagues with; easy ways to save, access to affordable loans, and a range of other services to help them manage their money better.
Hull City Council, the City's largest employer, agreed to support the enterprise as part of their anti-poverty and social inclusion strategies. Councillor Pat Doyle, then Council Leader, was a leading supporter, believing that a vibrant employees' credit union would be a shining example for other groups in the local community.
CHCU was registered in June 1999 and was an immediate success. Members saved painlessly by direct deduction from their pay and soon built up some useful balances. Its enterprising spirit was soon to the fore, as the first low-cost loans were made to local people wishing to buy shares in Kingston Communications, Hull's former municipal telephone undertaking, when it was floated on the Stock Exchange!