Work not worry

How credit unions can help reduce financial stress affecting work

26% of working age adults in the UK have no savings and 29% have less than £1000. The credit union can help employees in a number of ways, primarily by encouraging saving as a way of preventing over indebtedness. It can also offer support to staff that need assistance with things such as budgeting, and crucially, offer a low cost source of credit which can greatly reduce the cost of borrowing at those times when it’s necessary. Research shows that those struggling with unmanageable debt are highly likely to report stress and mental health problems. Indebtedness reportedly arises from the likes of rent, mortgage credit-card and overdue utility bills. Read Angela's story to see how joining a credit union helped reduce her financial worries.

Angela's Story

Angela worked as a senior administrator at the local Council but was finding work very stressful. She didn’t seem able to concentrate on anything for any length of time and wasn’t managing to meet her deadlines. She eventually called in sick and was off for two weeks. On her return her line manager discovered that the real reason she was off was that her car had failed its MOT and she didn’t have the funds to get the repairs done.Travelling by public transport was taking a four hour round trip and she simply couldn’t cope with the journey. Because of the early starts and lateness getting home she was feeling exhausted and she was taking her stress out on her family.

Angela didn't have a great credit score and had maxed out her credit cards to the tune of £3000. She also had a loan with a balance of £700 plus a catalogue balance of £600, so she simply couldn’t find the money to fix her car.

After her back to work interview Angela’s line manager suggested that Hoot Credit Union might be able to help her with a loan to fix her car. He was a member and saved as well as repaying a loan through payroll deduction.

Angela talked to Hoot and we gave Angela a loan to pay for the car repairs and to consolidate her debts. As well as paying back her loan she saved a moderate amount as well and built up enough savings to cope with emergencies
like car repairs. Because her repayments were deducted from her wages automatically she never missed a payment and once her loan balance had reduced by over a half she topped up to pay for her holiday. Last year, for the first time Angela was able to pay for Christmas from her salary topped up with her credit union savings.

“I am so glad that I joined Hoot Credit Union; it has been a lifesaver for me! When I spoke to someone and realised they could help me, I signed up for a loan straight away. They were really helpful and I now log in online to see how my savings and loan balances are doing. If I want to transfer money from my Hoot account I can do that online too.”

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