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News

Kent Savers reaches 3,000 members

26th August 2016

Kent Savers Credit Union membership has passed the 3,000 mark for the first time. We’ve grown from 2,000 to 3,000 in just 21 months.

Martin Kingman, chairman of Kent Savers Credit Union said, “We are delighted to welcome new members and to have hit this milestone in our development. Naturally, we lose a number of members each year – those who pass away or who have paid off their loans and don’t think they’ll need another loan later, but the numbers joining are rising thereby increasing the overall membership.

“Increasing both membership and the number of loans we issue makes Kent Savers Credit Union more financially secure, able better to help those who cannot otherwise get affordable credit when they need it to see them through a bad patch.

ClickDownload Aug 2016: Kent Savers reaches 3000 members (165.5kb)


Kent Savers partners to bring branches to Canterbury

15th January 2016

Kent Savers is to offer face to face services in Canterbury thanks to the new Connecting Canterbury initiative which launches on Monday 18th January.

The Connecting Canterbury hubs will be based in three churches and a community centre in the city, open from 9.30am until 12 noon each day, Monday to Saturday and staffed by fully trained volunteers.

As well as providing access to Kent Savers' services, Connecting Canterbury is also partnering with the local authority, the Citizens Advice Bureau, the Canterbury Debt Advice Centre, Christians Against Poverty and many other organisations to offer help and advice across a wide range of needs.

More information about Connecting Canterbury and the service it provides can be found on their website: www.connectingcanterbury.org.

ClickDownload Jan 2016: Kent Savers partners to bring branches to Canterbury (191.3kb)


Careful planning can ease financial stress at Christmas

27th October 2015

We know how tough it can be at Christmas for those in debt.

Kent Savers are promoting our Save as you Borrow scheme which provides instant credit to clear debts or pay for Christmas this year and ensures a little is put aside each week to help lessen the need for further borrowing for next Christmas.

Our Save as you Borrow scheme means that those who take out a loan repay a little more each month on top of their loan repayment which is paid directly into a savings account. That saving account can then be used toward the cost of Christmas next year and reduce the need for further borrowing.

Martin Kingman, chairman of Kent Savers Credit Union, said, “We believe it is vital to help people to get into the saving habit, which is especially hard for those on low incomes and with existing debts.

Typically, a Save as you Borrow account costing £41 per week provides £1,000 instant credit to pay off existing loans and accumulates £1,000 savings in the account after 52 weeks at 25.9% APR representative, which compares well with many credit card and overdraft rates, and pay-day lenders and loan sharks.

ClickDownload Nov 2015: Careful planning can ease financial stress at Christmas (155.6kb)


Savings and loans for weddings

14th October 2015

Kent Savers are offering savings accounts and loans for couples getting married as part of a partnership with the Diocese of Rochester.

The Diocese have partnered with a number of credit unions in order to offer low interest loans to those struggling to save the money needed for a wedding.

The diocese’s Rev Canon Jean Kerr said: “Simply put, credit unions are community savings and loans providers. The idea is that members mutually benefit as there’s no profit for third-party shareholders.

“For some, they can be a welcome alternative to payday loans or doorstep lending but they are open to all and the more people that join in, the more successful they will be.

“Vicars in the Diocese of Rochester will help couples to join their local credit union if that is something that may help them with their saving for the big day.”

Kent Savers encourages members to save for major events and to put some money aside for emergencies, and when members need access to further funds then our affordable loans can help.

The Rt Rev James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester said; “It is always a privilege to be a part of the celebration of marriage and we want to help and support couples as they plan. I’m particularly pleased to be able to raise awareness of credit unions, because they are important in helping to build a community and counter financial exclusion.”


Two million lent out

2nd October 2015

Total lending by Kent Savers Credit Union passed the £2million mark in September. Loans of £73,905 were issued in the month ranging from a loan of £300 for vehicle repairs to several loans for £7,500 for debt consolidation. Other popular reasons included home improvement, furnishings, holidays and cars.

The loan for vehicle repairs was the 1,384th issued since the organisation's launch in 2010 and marks another milestone in the growing popularity of the Credit Union.

Membership was also up in the past month to 2,500, with the youngest saver aged just one year old and the oldest aged 93.

Martin Kingman, chairman of Kent Savers Credit Union, said, “Over the past year there has been a kick back against the very high interest rates charged by pay-day lenders and some banks and credit card companies. Also, banks are being more selective when agreeing loans and many people such as those on benefits with small incomes requiring small sums for a short period find it hard to access borrowing. Kent Savers have a range of loans from 4.9% and works with its members to help them save and break the cycle of debt, and we have had some record months for both saving and borrowing that have helped push us through this milestone figure.”

ClickDownload Oct 2015: Two million lent out (156.5kb)


Launch of #toyourcredit

13th November 2014

Today sees the launch of #TOYOURCREDIT, a new website from the Church of England, to highlight the work of the Archbishop of Canterbury's Task Group on Responsible Credit and Savings.

The website features stories and case studies from several credit unions, including from Murston Community Bank, the first branch of Kent Savers.

The Church's national publicity focussed on a proposal for primary school savings clubs, and pupils from Murston Junior School who run a branch of Kent Savers were featured on Today on Radio 4 this morning.

Kent Savers wholeheartedly welcomes this initiative from the Archbishop.


Kent Savers Credit Union - here to help at Christmas

31st October 2014

We issued a press release today to highlight how we could help people at Christmas with their loans and savings.

We highlighted the high cost of credit through companies such as Provident and Brighthouse.

Click for details of the Christmas campaign.


Pupils’ bank opens at Murston Junior School in Sittingbourne

2nd October 2014

Yesterday, Murston Junior School in Sittingbourne successfully opened its own bank. It’s the newest branch of the Murston Community Bank, which earlier this year became the first community bank to be held in a church, and is a partnership with Kent Savers and the Diocese of Canterbury.

The whole school gathered together to celebrate the opening, and began the proceedings in style by singing the school song, Together We Are One. The Rt Reverend Trevor Willmott, the Bishop of Dover was present and cut the ribbon to the new banking area, with the help of pupils and staff.

Year 6 students will run the bank, which will be open two days a week. Each pupil in the school will have an account and will receive a specially designed Murston Community Bank pass book with their school logo on it.

As well as being able to deposit real money, students will also be able to earn Murston Money, as part of a new reward scheme in the school. When they leave in Year 6, a pupil’s Murston Money will be exchanged for pounds and pence, and transferred into their bank account ready for secondary school.

Mrs Patricia Hatt, the Headteacher of Murston Junior School has also ensured that the bank will inspire the curriculum, as children across the school will learn about financial matters and the importance of good money management; the aim being that this financial grounding will benefit the children throughout their lives. She said:

“We’re so proud of all our pupils. They’ve all worked so hard to make this bank a reality and have contributed their own ideas about how it should work. I am convinced that the presence of the bank in our school, and the skills and knowledge our pupils will gain from the whole experience, will prove invaluable to them as they make their way through life.”


New flyers and postcards for the summer

18th July 2014

With the summer holidays arriving we're launching some new flyers and postcards promoting our loans.  We're using this image of kids on the beach to remind members and inform new members that Kent Savers can provide good value loans for all occasions.


Celebrating 50 years of credit unions

9th April 2014

Kent Savers Credit Union is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the first credit union in Britain.

Credit unions have been putting their members first and providing them with the financial services they need since 1964.  There are now nearly 400 credit unions in Britain which together provide responsible savings and loans to over 1 million people and look after over £1 billion in assets.

The first credit unions – Wimbledon Credit Union and Hornsey Co-operative Credit Union – were registered in London in 1964.



Kent Savers welcomes Unison members

17th March 2014

Unison the union have set up a credit union service, which offers UNISON members access to low-interest loans and a range of savings products through their UK network of partner credit unions.

Kent Savers are pleased to be one of the Unison partners and invite Unison members living or working in Kent, Medway and Bexley to join the credit union, open a savings account and consider us if you need a loan.


New branch opened today

20th January 2014.

A new branch of Kent Savers opened today in Murston nr Sittingbourne.

The branch was launched by Trevor Willmott, Bishop of Dover, Sue Gent, Mayor of Swale, Gail Devries, President of Kent Savers and the Reverend George Rogers.

ITV Meridian and BBC South East both covered the launch on local news.  See ITV Meridian's coverage.

The branch is located at All Saints Church and is being run in partnership with the Diocese of Canterbury.


Partnership with Diocese launched

The partnership with the Diocese of Canterbury was launched on 16th October.

A meeting was held at All Saints Church, Maidstone on 16th October, to launch the partnership with the Diocese of Canterbury.

Trevor Willmott, Bishop of Dover opened the meeting. Eric Hotson, chairman of Kent County Council, and Clive English, Mayor of Maidstone, gave the initiative their support.

Gail Devries, President of Kent Savers, then introduced the partnership and talked about goals for the next few months.  Gail also spoke about Kent Savers new Community Investment account and the online membership facility due to be launched shortly.

Claire Marsh of Barclays then spoke about how Barclays were planning to work with Kent Savers by referring potential members to us, following the successful model from West Sussex.  Bishop Trevor then closed the meeting.

Gail and Bishop Trevor joining Kent Savers


Archbishop sparks flurry of new members

The comments by the Archbishop of Canterbury on out-competing Wonga caused a media storm on 25th July and Kent Savers' phones were red hot during the next few days with people enquiring about membership.  Our July newsletter gives a summary of what has been going on.


Kent Savers joins up to exciting new project

Kent Savers is one of 31 credit unions to join the first wave of a major project set to transform the credit union sector over the next two years.

The financial co-operative is one of 31 credit unions across Britain to sign up to the ambitious Credit Union Expansion Project which aims to attract up to a million more people into credit union membership. The project is being managed by the Association of British Credit Unions Ltd (ABCUL) and has attracted Government investment of up to £38 million.

Gail Devries from Kent Savers said: “Joining the project will help us keep the focus on the specific needs of our members, but work together with other credit unions where we can benefit from pooling knowledge and resources. This will give our members the best of both worlds and we look forward to offering a wider range of services and to many more people accessing our services.”

Mark Lyonette, Chief Executive of ABCUL, said: “The Credit Union Expansion Project will help credit unions to offer a much wider range of great value products to many more members from a broad range of income groups.

“Consumers will be able to benefit from the latest online technology to sign up to credit union services such as current accounts, budgeting accounts and Cash ISAs. A centralised hub will automate the delivery of products so that members can also access credit union services through secure connections to other networks. This is a landmark project for credit unions and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which will help to place the credit union movement in Britain on a similar footing to leading credit union movements around the world.”

Gail added “Because we will be able to pool resources and centralise core tasks, we will benefit from cost savings which we will be able to pass onto more members through lower loan rates and better returns on savings. We will be able to continue to focus on providing the great member service that we pride ourselves on.”

The project will aim to build on the research conducted during the DWP led Credit Union Feasibility Study and work with employers and other community leaders to help more people access the services they need.


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Kent Savers Credit Union Tel: 0333 321 9050 Email: info@kentsavers.co.uk Web: http://www.kentsavers.co.uk
Kent Savers Credit Union is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Prudential Regulation and Financial Conduct Authorities - Firm No. 503258