At our AGM in March, the Board was authorised “to approach other well-established credit unions in the north-east to explore prospects for an amalgamation”. This has taken place, and the Board is recommending a “transfer of engagements” (the co-operative term equivalent of a merger) to NEFirst Credit Union with effect from 1st October this year.
However the decision lies with the members of the credit union – and the formal mechanism for making the decision is to consider the proposal at two Special General Meetings held 14-28 days apart. So –
members are invited to attend one or both Special Meetings
both at St James Community Centre, Wellway, Morpeth NE61 1BN
For the transfer of engagements to be approved, both 75% of the members attending the first meeting and 50% +1 of the members attending the second meeting must vote in favour – and there must be at least 15 members at each meeting.
Northumberland Credit Union is in sound financial shape but there is a problem with “succession strategy” with no new directors coming forward to join the Board, and the Board believes that a larger established credit union can provide a better service for credit union members in the county. The Board is also aware that two small North East credit unions have failed in recent months.
NEFirst Credit Union is a large credit union with around 16.000 members, savings of £4.5M and £3.5M out on loan, and is a member of ABCUL – see their website www.nefirstcu.co.uk. It currently has offices in Birtley, Durham City, Gateshead and North Shields reflecting where most of its current members are, but its Common Bond covers the whole of the North East.
NEFIrst will offer Northumberland Credit Union members:
• Access to on-line membership and loan applications and savings balance
• Dividends on savings for both adult and junior members (though the current
3% interest on junior accounts will be dropped)
• Loans of up to £15,000 at interest rates of 0.6% – 3.0% per month
• Free life assurance on both savings and loans
• The option of a debit card linked to your loan or saving account
If the transfer of engagements is approved at the two Special General Meetings, then from 1st October 2018:
• All Northumberland Credit Union members will be members of NEFirst CU with their savings and savings record transferred
• Existing loans will continue under current terms (1.25% per month interest) but all new loans will be under the NEFirst CU terms
• The existing paying-in points will continue to operate, with the prospect of more if volunteers are available – NEFirst CU run over 50 paying-in points (they call them “local service points”) in Co Durham
• “Local Action Groups” will be developed and maintained to embed the credit union in the local community
• The Morpeth office will be retained (at least initially) alongside existing offices in Gateshead, Durham City, Birtley and North Shields
• A Director from Northumberland will be appointed to the NEFirst CU Board
Do contact any other Board member for more information and please make every effort to attend one or both of the Special General Meetings. If you are unable to attend, do email or write to us with your views so that these can be presented at the meetings, though there is no provision for proxy votes.
The Board are confident that this is the best way forward for Northumberland Credit Union but we want to be sure that members have all the information they need to make the decision.