Frequently Asked Questions about WFCCU
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Q. What is the Waltham Forest Community Credit Union?
A. The WFCCU is a local financial co-operative. That means a place where members can save and borrow safely at sensible interest rates because there are no shareholders to pay.Q. Is the WFCCU same as a bank?
A. We are not a bank but we do provide some similar services.Q. What makes the credit union different to a bank?
A. The only shareholders are you – so there’s no profit for fat-cats. In addition, your money stays in the local community and helps meet the needs of people around you. In short, the WFCCU is a safe, local and ethical home for your hard-earned money.Q. Who owns it?
A. The members own it with everyone owning an equal share.Q. Who runs it?
A. There is an unpaid Board of Directors elected from the members, a small paid staff and lots of volunteers.
Q. Who can join?
A. Anyone who lives, works, worships, or studies in the London Borough of Waltham Forest.Q. Why can’t just anyone join?
A. Every credit union has to have a “Common Bond” – something that links all the members. Ours is the London Borough of Waltham Forest.Q. What if I leave the borough, or stop working, worshipping or studying in the borough?
A. Once you are a member, you can remain a member even if you leave the Common Bond.
Q. Where does the money come from that you lend?
A. We have some money specifically set aside for lending, but most loans come from the money saved by other members. So when you save, you are providing a resource for other members of your community. When you pay back, that allows a neighbour to take out a loan.Q. When can I get a loan?
A. It’s best to borrow after you have saved for a bit. But we know that some people come to us because they need money straight away, so you can apply for a modest loan (hundreds rather than thousands of pounds) as soon as you are a member. The more you save, the bigger the loan you would be eligible to apply for, if you needed one.Q. How much can I borrow?
A. Apply for how much you need. We do have borrowing limits depending on your history with the credit union, and we also assess your loan according to your ability to repay. However, it is important to us to know how much is needed and what it is for.Q. Can I get a loan if I am on benefits?
A. Yes you can apply. Whether working or not, your loan application will be assessed on your ability to repay, not solely on your credit score.Q. I have a bad credit history, would you consider me for a loan?
A. We will consider anyone’s circumstances as long as you are completely honest with us when you apply and are doing your best to get your finances back on track. We will work with you to achieve this.Q. What’s the loan interest rate?
A. Never more than 2% per month on the reducing balance. The APR is 26.8% but actually you would only pay £63.63 interest on a £500 loan repaid over one year. You can get an even lower interest rate when you have been saving for a while, as low as 1% per month (12.7% APR) -that’s £99.27 interest on a loan of £1500 repaid over one year.Q. What happens if my circumstances change and I can’t repay my loan?
When comparing loans ALWAYS compare the Total Amount Repaid, not just the APR
A. It’s important that you contact us immediately if you are struggling to repay a loan so that we can work through your options. We’ll try to be as flexible as possible.
Q. Can I just save with the WFCCU?
A. Of course - we welcome savers as well as borrowers. If we don’t have savers, we don’t have any money to lend. We also encourage borrowers to save while repaying a loan to reduce their dependence on loans in the future.Q. Do I get interest on my savings?
A. We don’t quote an interest rate like banks do but each year we pay our savers a dividend. The size of the dividend depends on how well the WFCCU has performed during the previous 12 months: last year it was 1.5%.Q. How much can I save?
A. No one member can hold more than 1.5% of the savings of a credit union. At the time of writing this amounts to £12,500 and it will increase as the WFCCU grows.Q. Is my money safe?
A. Yes. Your savings are guaranteed by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. If the WFCCU were to fail, you would get all your money back (up to £85,000) which is more than you can currently have in your account.
Q. How can I pay in to my account?
A. You can pay into your account whenever you choose either in cash at the WFCCU, by cheque, standing order or by having benefits or wages paid in.Q. Do I get a bank card with my account?
A. Not at the moment. We can arrange a pre-paid card for you if you don’t have a bank account, but there are charges for use so it doesn’t suit everyone.Q. How do I get my money out?
A. You can withdraw up to £200 in cash from the WFCCU. Counter withdrawals over £200 will be made by cheque but we can arrange for the cheque to be cashed, free, at the local Co-operative Bank or Post Office. You can also telephone us to arrange to transfer your money to your bank account or pre-paid cash card. This can now usually be transferred on the same day, but some receiving banks and branches will still only accept 3-day payments.Q. Can I pay into my account or onto my loan by debit card?
A. Not at the moment unfortunately.Q. Can I get my money out at another credit union?
A. No. Credit unions are independent and not linked but we can send money to your account at another credit union if you wish.Q. Can I open an account for my child/grandchild?
A. Yes, we have Junior Saver accounts for under 18s. You can limit or prohibit withdrawals on a child’s account.
Q. Do you have any employment vacancies?
A. We have a small paid staff at the WFCCU, and when we have vacancies they are posted on the News page of this website. We are always looking for volunteers and offer some fantastic opportunities for work experience. Last year 22 of our volunteers used the experience and skills gained at the WFCCU to get paid employment!Q. How do I volunteer?
A. Go to the volunteering page of this website and download an application form.
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