Special General Meeting

Earlier this month you received an invitation to a Special General Meeting called to discuss and vote on the future of your Credit Union. Unfortunately, due to a regulatory technicality we had to postpone the meeting. We have now rescheduled the meeting and would like to invite you to attend on June 10th 2021 at 6:00pm. The meeting will be online and for full details on how to join the meeting, please click here.

I urge you to participate if at all possible, in this important decision for the future of your credit union. If you are unable to attend but wish to vote on the resolution, please contact the office before June 9th 2021.

If this meeting agrees the resolution to merge with Clockwise Credit Union by a sufficient majority there will be a second confirmatory General Meeting on July 1st 2021 at 6:00pm.

In addition to our original proposal which you will find below we are also proposing a change to our common bond.

Proposal to change the Wording of the Common Bond for New Central Credit Union

Background

As you know one of the defining characteristics of a credit union is that all members have something in common i.e., the common bond. Currently our common bond includes everyone living or working in Coventry or Warwickshire and also those who are employed by a variety of housing Associations and Local Councils. All of these are based in Coventry and Warwickshire and no members will be affected by the change in wording of the common bond. We have decided to recommend a simplified Common Bond as below

Resolution

That this meeting agrees to the following wording of the Common Bond

Admission to membership of the Credit Union is restricted to:

  1. a) An Individual who resides or is employed in the locality of Coventry and Warwickshire as delineated on the attached map. click here for the map
  2. b) An Individual who is a member of the same household as, and is a relative of, an individual who is a member of the credit union and falls directly within a common bond specified above

 

Proposal to Merge with Clockwise Credit Union.

Background

New Central Credit Union has currently approximately 3500 members, mostly from Coventry and the surrounding area. It is a community service organisation providing ethical savings and affordable lending for those not usually provided for by mainstream financial providers and an alternative to payday lenders and loan sharks. NCCU has over the years merged with a number of local credit unions to ensure it continues to provide credit union services to Coventry and wider Warwickshire.

However, it is a small credit union with limited resources both financial and in personnel. To continue to operate and provide services to its members, a credit union must ensure they have sufficient reserves and sufficient income to cover its running costs. The income comes from interest on the loans it makes, service fees and interest from invested funds. Member’s savings are used to make loans and invested in interest bearing accounts. By law, a credit union must meet strict financial conditions set by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).

The last year has been a very challenging year financially for NCCU. Loan demand decreased by 26%; this serious reduction of income has resulted in our making a loss which in turn reduces our reserves and means we are currently unable to meet key regulatory requirements. Faced with this issue we are forced to consider merging with another larger credit union or face drastic cuts and possible closure.

There is also a growing expectation and demand for us to offer a much broader service similar to that offered by the high street banks. Members want to readily move money between alternative accounts and have their benefits and wages paid directly into their credit union account. Perhaps, at some point, they would even like an account that comes with its own debit card. This level of service is entirely possible but comes at a cost to the Credit Union. While New Central Credit Union has invested heavily in its online services there are still many improvements both in quality and scope that NCCU would like to make.

To remain as an independent credit union and at the same time satisfy regulatory requirements means NCCU would have to cut expenditure drastically over the next two years. One result of this would be the closure of the city centre office and moving all interaction with members to online or telephone. In addition, if the Credit Union is cutting expenditure there is no possibility of investment to maintain or improve our Customer Service and offering as we would like.

The future is very uncertain in regard to the economic situation and what lending demand there will be, so there is no certainty that loan income will be sufficient to cover the operating costs of the credit union. This is why we could not pay a dividend or interest on any member savings this year and probably next.

 

The Rationale

The Board of NCCU having considered the limited options available have concluded that in the best interest of its members and to be able to continue to offer a credit union service in Coventry and Warwickshire a merger with a nearby larger credit union is the best solution.

The Board has explored various options and after careful consideration has entered into negotiations with a neighbouring Credit Union. Clockwise is a community-based Credit Union serving Leicestershire with a strong membership base of nearly 15,000. They have been growing successfully over the past few years and have a strong plan for further growth in the future. They have a high level of customer service and are actively involved in the community.

Through discussions with their Board of Directors it became clear that the advantages to NCCU members of NCCU merging with Clockwise are substantial.

  • Merging with a larger credit union will ensure the future viability of a Credit Union presence in Coventry and Warwickshire.
  • A merger with Clockwise will also offer a number of specific benefits to members.
    • Each member getting a unique Sort Code & Account Number, the same as a standard bank account.
  • Customer Services available 9.30 to 4.00pm 5 days a week
    • A Mobile app for easy banking.
    • Payment of Interest on Savings – currently 0.5%
    • Rebate of interest on loans, subject to a members repayment performance
    • Access to ISA savings accounts
    • 24/7 cash transfers
    • No membership fee or annual charge
    • 50% of loan approved at time of application (automated), rest reviewed and decision within 24 hours.
    • Digital Signatures on loans
    • Loan money paid immediately into Members own Bank account.
    • 2 Stage authentication login for Member security on app and internet.
    • Death cover on loans (loans balances are written off on death on the following basis Loan less savings = Loan balance at death)
  • The merger would also allow for improved Community involvement through a Community Grant Scheme

Recommendation

Following our discussions with Clockwise Credit Union and after careful examination of all the alternatives the Board recommend that New Central Credit Union merge with Clockwise Credit Union. The merged credit union will operate under the Clockwise brand, terms of business, product & services, and governance.

There will be no impact to an existing members current loans or savings. All members savings will continue to be protected by the Financial Services Compensation scheme.

Resolution

That this meeting of members of New Central Credit Union hereby resolves to transfer the whole of the stock, property and other assets and all engagements of the credit union to Clockwise Credit Union in consideration of Clockwise Credit Union issuing to each member of New Central Credit Union paid up shares equal to the amount standing to the credit of each member in the share ledgers of New Central Credit Union debiting each member of the New Central Credit Union with the like amounts of loans as are debited to each member in the books of New Central Credit Union on the date when the transfer of engagements becomes effective.