Darlington Credit Union
Where are you located
Number of employees
Give us a brief overview of your business
A mutual, not-for-profit, organisation owned by our members for our members with a strong ethical bias. We were formed in 2009 as a result of the merger of 4 existing credit unions in the town. Started with c.400 members, £120k in members’ savings and £60k loan book. Today we have over 8,000 members with savings of over £3m and a loan book in excess of £2m. Although savings and affordable loans are our core-business we have recently invested in a new banking platform that has allowed us to extend our products and services to include full on-line/digital banking, Mastercard backed debit card, budget accounts. We offer employers a payroll savings and loans option for their employees that requires minimal input by the employer but provides employees with an excellent addition to their employee package. We have 10 current payroll schemes in place with the largest being two of the local NHS Trusts and Darlington Borough Council. At the other end of the scale we have organisations with as few as 3 employees. When asked, in our 2019 Customer Satisfaction Survey, “To what extent do you agree that the scheme is an excellent addition to your employees’ benefit package?”, 87% agreed or strongly agreed.
In work poverty is on the increase. The proportion has risen from 13% in 1994-95 to 18% in 2017, meaning that about eight million people living in working households are in relative poverty, (according to the IFS research, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation). A payroll scheme can help alleviate that problem by encouraging saving and offering affordable loans as an accessible alternative to pay day borrowing or resorting to high interest, on-line offerings.
We also work with schools and colleges to provide financial/money management skills. We currently have 14 primary schools enrolled on our Young Savers Club with over 1500 savers and c.£170k invested.
Our MoneyWorks project, delivering money management guidance and budgetary skill training has over 50 agencies/charities in Darlington referring into it, often for their most vulnerable clients. This has become an invaluable service for those in our community who have problems with their finances, helping to relieve them of the stress that this causes and restoring some semblance of balance to their lives.
What has been your top tip for keeping business going during Covid-19?
The successful launch of our current account.
Tell us why you are a Chamber member?
As the CEO of a small business, based at the heart of the community, it is important for us to foster good working relations with other organisations in the same area. Chamber meetings are the perfect arena for that. We also value highly the support services they offer and we have availed ourselves of their excellent HR services on many occasions. The downside of being a CEO of a small business is trying to find the time to get to meetings. In 2020, I am looking to improve my attendance record.