During my work as National Treasurer I have been made aware of the value of developing services for Napo members. These have included expanding Napo’s legal, insurance and health portfolio. With an ongoing pay freeze and ever increasing living costs it seemed timely to consider another.
Thanks to our contacts with the POA, exploratory talks with the Police Credit Union have set Napo a long way down the route of being able to being to link members to a credible and ethical source of borrowing. This option offers a financially beneficial means for savers with membership dependent on a minimum investment of £10 a month.
Any member wishing to benefit as a saver with PCU could do so in the knowledge it is a mutual organisation where profits are shared with members through the distribution of dividends. The PCU has over 22,000 members and has a sound record in encouraging financial responsibility among its membership. They will take time to ensure the member accesses the correct product as there is no incentive from commission to push any product.
There are sufficient safeguards to ensure there is sensible lending through an ethos of supporting members to achieve financial security rather than lend on the basis of meeting a target as some high street banks are prone to. There is no arrangement or early redemption fee and the average loan is £5,000.
Once the Credit Union becomes available to Napo, members will have the choice of being able to access the service through the Napo web site and become part of a virtual branch. This provides members with access to a dedicated member of staff who will be able to deal with concerns and enquiries.
Repayment of loans and monthly investments in savings will ideally be deducted from Salary and the facility is already there for NPS staff. Part of the preparatory work for the anticipated launch at this years AGM will be the setting up of the same facility for staff employed in CRC’s and Cafcass.
Far from opposing deductions from salary in the lead up to the last general election the Government issued guidance about encouraging such deductions to facilitate savings and increased access to affordable finance. Such an arrangement was apparently being openly encouraged within the Ministry of Defence.
The ethos of pay roll deductions was supported in the guidance issued by the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals while extolling the benefit of a credit union.
Along with other financial institutions the PCU is subject to the Financial Services Authority and has a Governing body which is accountable to its membership at its AGM.
Board members have responsibilities as the Union and they are financially liable for any misconduct or financial failure which has led to some re organisation to achieve a more effective operation.
There are a number of benefits for members not offered by other lenders making the PCU an attractive option for any Napo member interested in comparing this option for its value. These include an element of insurance within the repayment that will protect members in two ways. Loans are written off for members if they pass away before their 70th birthday providing peace of mind for their next of kin. For savers the beneficiaries of their estate will be repaid their total investment plus a further 100% of its value to a maximum of £25,000 if they pass away before their 60th Birthday. All these are available at no additional cost.
Any one within in the immediate family of the members can access PCU benefits and members can continue with their relationship with the credit union up on leaving their employment.
Staff employed by Napo will also be eligible to join the credit union providing they agree to be a part of the Napo branch of the credit union.
A News letter is distributed to members of the PCU keeping them informed of developments within the Union. Currently the majority of members are Police officers reflecting the origins of the union. When the POA joined, the PCU magazine made a big push to publicise the event and identify the fund had a broader membership base. It is presumed the same curtsey would be extended to Napo.
I look forward to keeping you informed as we progress to a real benefit for all members of Napo.