What is a Credit Union?
A Credit Union is a not-for-profit organisation owned and operated by members where resource is shared exclusively for the benefit of a community which in this case is GMB Trade Union. Credit Unions provide alternative savings and loans services to those offered by banks and other financial institutions. Credit Unions are non-profit cooperatives owned by their members and entirely focused on their members’ financial wellbeing, rather than financial profit. There are no greedy shareholders or faceless investors and all funds are kept within the member community, rather than being invested or speculated elsewhere.
Can I join GMB Credit Union?
GMBCU is the Credit Union exclusively for all members and staff of GMB Trade Union. GMBCU’s common bond extends to the households and family members of a GMB member.
What are the benefits of joining GMB Credit Union?
Financial benefits - Credit Unions usually outperform high street interest rates, and all money is retained and shared between members to grow their community. GMB Credit Unions sole purpose is to improve the financial wellbeing of its members by saving them money on borrowing and helping members make best use of their savings. Ethical benefits - Credit Unions are democratic, each member has a vote and a say in how the Credit Union operates. GMB Credit Union has no greedy shareholders or faceless investors, we are a transparent organisation which shares its trading surpluses with members and circulates money for the sole benefit of the GMB community. Community benefits - Credit Unions are owned and run by their members and are committed to social investment in their community’s. They offer a fast, fair and flexible service which treats members as individuals.
Member Loan FAQs
Can I apply for a GMBCU loan straight away?
If you are a GMB member or family member you can apply for a loan whenever you want. You don’t have to save first. With an easy online application process and quick decisions, GMB Credit Union doesn’t apply any loan fees or early repayment charges. Paperwork is kept to a minimum and members can request top-up loans later if needed.
Why should I consider GMB Credit Union as a lender in preference to Banks or other lenders?
GMBCU is a responsible lender providing a range of fast, fair flexible loans from £200 to £20,000 focused exclusively on the financial wellbeing of GMB members. Our key objectives are to save our members money and assist them with managing their household budgets. Members pay interest on the reducing loan balance. This means that we only charge you interest on how much you have left to pay, not on how much you borrowed in the first place. Members can repay their loans early without charge and we have no hidden fees or charges on any of our member loans. Most of our larger loans come with a three month repayment break to help our members level out those unexpected events which we all experience. These payment breaks can be taken one month at a time, or in one go. To date, GMB members have borrowed over £60 million from their Credit Union and we regularly compare our loan rates against the market and offer our members a price match promise to ensure that our members pay less for their borrowing.
What is the process for getting a Credit Union member loan?
Applying for a member loan is easy. It’s a three stage process as follows: Complete your application online via our Nivo App or on the Web site. We then assess your application complete a credit reference check in most cases and advise you via Nivo of our loan offer. On receipt of your signed loan agreement we will transfer funds by faster payment to your nominated bank account. We aim to keep paperwork to a minimum with loan applications signed electronically via our Nivo app and we will get back to you with an offer within two working days in the case on new applications or one working day in the case of top up loans and save secure loans. We are committed to providing fast, fair and flexible member loans.
Why do I need to provide additional information such as proof of income when applying for a loan?
All GMBCU loans are based on affordability, so as a responsible lender, it is important that we ask you to confirm your income. We may also ask you to connect your bank statement through Open Banking, so we understand your household expenditure.
This ensures that we do not take unnecessary risks with the Credit Union’s funds and do not overburden our members financially. This additional information also means that we can make a fairer loan decision and not rely exclusively on the credit reference report.
Why did you ask me about my household income when applying for a loan?
GMBCU is always concerned that a member is comfortable with their loan and can afford the monthly repayments. We ask for information on household income as it is a key factor in understanding how much disposable income they have. This means we will take into consideration a partner’s income when assessing a loan. However, the loan will be in the individual applicant’s name and a member’s partner is not liable for loan repayments. If members prefer a joint loan application this can be arranged.
What is Open Banking and is it secure?
Open Banking is a UK initiative driven by the Competition and Markets Authority. It aims to open data access and standardise technical specifications across the finance industry so that individuals and businesses have better access and control over their data. This includes the ability for GMB members to share their financial data across organisations other than banks.
Open Banking became fully operational in January 2018 and GMBCU’s Open Banking facility is accessible through our NIVO App when a member applies for a loan. Permission to access bank statements can only be given by the member who simply logs into their own online banking and gives time-limited, read-only access to GMBCU.
Open Banking is very secure and highly regulated with members protected by data-protection laws and the Financial Ombudsman Service. The service is free and leaves no footprint on a member’s credit file and is now a popular and convenient way to share bank statements when assessing affordability for a member loan.
How do Top Up loans work?
When you top up a loan, we simply set up a new loan for the remaining loan balance plus the extra amount you want to borrow and then we pay off your old loan. The new loan may have a different interest rate from your initial loan, the term might be different, and you may have a different monthly repayment - all of this will be explained at the time.
Top-up loans are a very popular, convenient and flexible way for members to increase an existing Credit Union loan. They are available at the discretion of GMBCU and, of course, you will need to be fully up to date with your existing loan repayments to apply.
When and how can I apply for a Top Up Loan?
We always treat members individually and we have general guidelines for top-ups as follows:
• Top up loans are available after 6 x monthly loan repayments have been made on a first-time loan.
• Top up loans are limited to a maximum of 4 in any one year.
Members apply via our web site in the usual manner on a short application form and we may ask you for additional information if your circumstances have changed.
What if I’m struggling to repay my loan?
Don’t ignore the problem of missed loan repayments and arrears as missed payments can affect your credit rating and make it more difficult for you to obtain credit in the future.
We understand that members can be adversely impacted by many life events, usually not of their own making. So, please speak to us as soon as possible and we will take time to discuss options to help you pay back your loan and stabilise your financial wellbeing.
Cash Flow Account FAQs
What is a Cash Flow Account?
Cash flow is a revolving credit facility where members have the flexibility to access funds up to a pre agreed credit limit whenever they need them along with the certainty of a fixed monthly repayment. Cash Flow works like an affordable loan, overdraft or credit card but is much more affordable at 12% (12.7% APR) Members can transfer loan funds up to their pre agreed limit whenever they wish. The minimum transfer is £50 and Cash Flow transfers will be paid to a nominated member bank account by faster payments. There are no other loan fees or charges and we will conduct a review of these accounts every 18 months to ensure that members are using our best lending products.
What are the Cash Flow credit limits and fixed monthly repayments?
Members select their Cash Flow limit on application and will be able to increase or reduce their limits to suit their individual circumstances. Loan repayments, which are made monthly by direct debit, are calculated based on your credit limit and will stay fixed no matter how much and how many times you withdraw from your Cash Flow account.
How do I apply for a Cash Flow Account and do you carry out a credit check?
If you’re a GMB member you can apply for a Cash Flow account via Nivo our secure messaging app. To complete this application, you will need proof of identity (a driving licence or passport) and proof of income (normally your last two wage slips). As a responsible lender we will check your credit history with TransUnion, who are a leading UK Credit Reference Agency, to help us make a fair lending decision.
How do I transfer funds from my Cash Flow and what is the minimum withdrawal amount?
You are in control of your Cash Flow account and can transfer funds as you need them to your nominated bank account. Simply contact us via a NIVO message or go to the My Account area of our web site and request a Cash Flow transfer. The minimum transfer is £50.00. Transfer requests received on a working day will be in your nominated bank account on the same day if your request is received by us before 2.00pm.
Can I apply for a Cash Flow Account if I already have a Credit Union loan?
Yes, and we will consider each application on its merits.
What term do I repay my Cash Flow Account over?
There is no maximum term as this is a revolving credit account. The account will be subject to review every 18 months. We reserve the right to withdraw the facility at any time.
What happens if I close my Cash Flow Account?
The outstanding balance will become repayable in full and restrictions on further transfer will apply.
Can I still save with the Credit Union if I have Cash Flow Account?
Cash Flow borrowers are required to save a minimum of £5.00 per month and these savings are locked until your loan balance falls below your savings balance. You can save more than £5.00 pm if you wish. Savings which are not locked can be accessed at any time. You can do this in one of two ways either request a savings withdrawal via a NIVO message or go to the My Account area of our web site and request a savings withdrawal.
Family Credit Loan FAQs
What is a Family Credit Loan?
This is an exclusive loan service for established members of the GMB Trade Union (i.e. those with minimum trade union membership of three months) in receipt of Child Benefit. If you are an immediate family member of an established GMB Trade Union member (e.g. a partner) and in receipt of Child Benefit you are also eligible to apply.
Family Credit loans allow GMB Trade Union members in receipt of Child Benefit access to a revolving loan of up to £1,200 conditional upon Child Benefit being paid direct to a savings account with GMB Credit Union. The maximum repayment period for Family Credit Loans is 18 months and after 1/3 of your family loan has been repaid you will be eligible to top up your loan. We encourage our members to save as much as they can and will set up a payment plan which is affordable allowing you to pay down your loan, build up savings and get back some of your Child Benefit to spend each month if you need it. The minimum savings requirement is £4.00 every four weeks or £1.00 weekly. Interest is charged at 30% (34.5% APR) and there are no fees or charges. You can settle your loan with no charge at any time.
How do I apply for Family Credit Loan?
You must be an active member of the GMB Trade Union with a minimum trade union membership of three months or an immediate family member of an active GMB Trade Union member. You must also be in receipt of Child Benefit and can apply for Family Credit via Nivo our secure messaging app.
To complete the application, you will need proof of identity (a driving licence or passport) and proof that you are in receipt of child benefit (copy of the award letter from Child Benefit Dept or a bank statement)
Do you carry out credit checks and will a low credit score prevent me from obtaining a Family Credit loan?
As a responsible lender we will complete a credit reference check. However, our objective with Family Credit loans is to support as many members as possible, including those with lower credit scores. If you are in Bankruptcy, have a Debt Relief Order, IVA or Debt Management Plan, or CCJs in the past 6 months, then we will be unable to offer you Family Credit.
How do I arrange for Child Benefit to be transferred to the Credit Union?
When we have agreed your loan please contact the Child Benefit office on 0300 200 3100 and request for your child benefit to be transferred to your GMB Credit Union account. We will provide you with all the details including your Credit Union account number and our bank account details.
How long will it take to process my Family Credit loan?
Once your loan application is complete and you have arranged for your Child Benefit to be transferred to us, we will contact you immediately the first benefit payment hits your Credit Union savings account which we open automatically when you apply for a loan. We will then process your loan by faster payments to your nominated bank account.
Can I Top Up my Family loan?
You can apply for a top up on your Family Credit loan when you have repaid a 1/3 of your original loan balance. Top Up requests should be made through our Nivo App.
How can I access my savings?
A Family Credit borrower will need to save a minimum of £4.00 into savings every four weeks or £1.00 weekly and this money is locked in until your loan balance falls below your savings balance. However, savings which are not locked can be accessed at any time by members. You can do this in one of two ways either request a savings withdrawal via a NIVO message or go to the My Account area of our web site and request a savings withdrawal. Withdrawals received on a working day will be in your nominated bank account on the same day if your withdrawal request is received before 2.00pm.
What happens if my Child Benefit stops or is no longer paid into the Credit Union?
You will still be liable to make your loan repayments and will need to contact us and select an alternative method of repayment such as Direct Debit or standing order.
Member Savings FAQs
Is my money safe with you?
Like all major financial institutions, Credit Union savings are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). The FSCS will in the unlikely event that we cannot meet our financial obligations pay compensation up to a current level of £85,000. We are also authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and are required to report to them on a regular basis.
What is the interest rate on your easy access savings?
Rather than a fixed interest Credit Unions pay an annual dividend which is based on the trading surplus generated in our financial year ending 31 December. The level of dividend is recommended by the board of directors and then agreed at our Annual General Meeting in March. The level of dividend will normally vary from year to year, depending on how successful the Credit Union has been. The dividend paid for year ending 2019 was 1.2% and this is normally paid gross to members in April.
Is there a limit to how much I can save and how do you withdraw funds?
Due to the popularity of our savings accounts there is currently a £20,000 maximum savings limit per member. All our savings accounts are easy access which can be withdrawn without condition with transfer by faster payments to a nominated bank account. Request for withdrawal can be made by Nivo, the My Account area of the web site or email. You can also check your balance anytime via the My Account area of the website.
What does it mean when you say my savings are locked?
We are keen to encourage the savings habit to provide members with a safety net during times of crisis. Savings can also act as security for member loans for example in the case of a Save Secure, Family, Cash Flow and Save& Borrow loans all of which have an element of locked savings. If locked savings apply to a loan you will be advised at the time of application and the savings remain yours to be accessed when your loan balance falls or is repaid. You will receive a dividend on locked savings and if you grow your savings this will enable us to lend at a finer rate.