Credit union 'very much alive' as another closes its accounts
Members of the voluntary-run Congleton Community Credit Union have been reassured that is “very much alive”.
The announcement came after the collapse of another credit union in the borough.
Crewe-based Cheshire Neighbours’ Credit Union is being wound down after making losses of £20,000 a year.
Efforts were made to merge with other credit unions without success. In 2018 Cheshire Neighbours Credit Union, which has paid staff, was advanced a loan by Cheshire East Council and by September last year had received £20,000 of the £60,000 loan made allowable.
Its directors include Coun Sam Corcoran, the leader of Cheshire East Council and Jill Rhodes, its Cabinet member responsible for public health and corporate services.
After its website informed members of the winding down and the closure of their bank accounts, Congleton Community Credit Union contacted the Chronicle to make it clear that it was business as usual for what is known locally as “Congleton's best kept secret”.
In April, we reported how Congleton's credit union had given those with loans a temporary reduction in payments during the pandemic without incurring additional interest.
Established 25 years ago, it is run entirely by volunteers with no paid staff.
Director Lisa Bossons said: “We are very much alive and currently operating temporarily at the Cygnet Club on Swan Bank every Saturday from 10-11am.
“I am rather proud that our little credit union has weathered the storm and is still here to provide a service to people who live and work in CW12.”
Asked about Congleton Credit Union's success she said: “We don't have any paid employees and any profits are put back as an annual dividend for our members.
“The directors and board members are all volunteers and a small committee of members called The Friends of CCCU do coffee mornings and socials to help raise a little extra money. The town council has supported us with small one-off grants over the years.”
Ms Bossons added: “Also, being small, we can manage and not overstretch, although we have to pay fees to the regulatory bodies just like other financial institutions and, they are our biggest outlay.
“There is a lot of goodwill and directors and members give up time and expertise voluntarily.”
A message on the Cheshire Neighbours’ Credit Union website this week said: “As you may be aware, Cheshire Neighbours’ Credit Union is currently winding down the banking services we currently offer to our members, leading to closure of the business and members' CNCU bank accounts.
“This is with much regret, however, it is a decision which has been reached and agreed by our members who attended the annual meeting on 11th March, 2020.”
To comply with its banking regulator's guidelines on winding down, the credit union had to stop opening new savings and loan accounts immediately and repay members' savings and close the account.
Members were told that if Cheshire Neighbours’ Credit Union was their main banking account, they would need to open a new bank account with alternative bankers.