If the past few months have taught us anything, it’s the importance of community. Supporting each other is how we overcome challenges, feel more connected and build a happier future.

Community is at the heart of everything GMB Credit Union does. It’s the first thing we think about when enhancing our loan offering and digitising our service delivery, finding better ways to communicate and tailoring the service for GMB members.

That’s what people get when they join a Credit Union. It’s not just a safe place to manage their finances. But a real support network that’s there for them during the most difficult times.

Let’s dig a little deeper into why Credit Unions are so important in uncertain times like these.

1. Supporting their Communities  

For Banks and other loan providers’ the primary focus is on their bottom line because they have demanding investors and hungry markets to satisfy. Most of the time businesses operate on self-interest - it’s just the way the financial markets work.

However, Credit Unions offer an alternative approach and whilst they must be efficient businesses, they are driven by member wellbeing not-profit. This means that, as with GMBCU, they don’t speculate on the money market to profit from short term fluctuations. Nor do they hold unethical investments.

Instead, GMBCU pool member savings and then lend to other members, circulating money for the benefit of their community. This ensures everyone in the GMB Trade Union can benefit, not just a small group of people.

Which means switching to a credit union means YOU can directly help others too, supporting the communities around you.

2. Listening and reacting to Members

Credit Unions like GMBCU are entirely owned and operated by their members. So, if members have concerns or questions, the Credit Union doesn't just listen and then sit on these suggestions for months without acting. They take members’ feedback and use it to make changes that have real benefits.

For example, over the past few months, GMBCU has been listening to our members’ concerns about the pandemic and its impact on their finances. Members said they wanted more flexible and affordable borrowing options that are tailored to their unique circumstances. Not just a one-size-fits-all solution.

Our members asked for our help, and we answered with members assistance packages designed specifically for people struggling during the coronavirus (you can learn more about this support on our website). This isn’t a one-off, virtue-signaling act. It’s a core component of how our Credit Union operates.

3. Affordable loans centered around members’ needs

With the economic uncertainty brought on by the pandemic, many people look to loans to consolidate existing borrowing or finance large expenses. Problem is, not all loans are equal. How can you be sure the lender has your best interests in mind?

Credit Unions don’t just create loans to make money. Instead, they consider how their products can be made more flexible and affordable. So that those members who are in need of support, whether from the pandemic or another circumstance, get the support they need to ease their financial burdens.

GMBCU, for example, has enhanced its loans specifically for our members. Like Family Credit that support a family's financial wellbeing, Consolidation loans that make it easier to pay off existing borrowing, and loans with highly-competitive rates which can be topped up when necessary.

4. Interested in the Wellbeing of Members  

Every time a GMB member joins a Credit Union like GMBCU, they can be assured that we have a responsible attitude to finance and will ensure that we will also deliver supporting information on topics such as wise borrowing and developing a savings habit.

Financial health directly impacts mental health, as we talked about in our blog: How Financial Problems Affect Your Mental Health. People need easy access to information that can help them manage their finances better. It helps them avoid a vicious cycle where stress and anxiety cause financial paralysis - when a person can’t act to improve their situation because of mental illness.

By choosing a Credit Union over banks, you impact not just your own financial wellbeing but that of thousands, ensuring the continuation of vital education.

5. Safe and Secure

With all the recent uncertainty, you might be worried that switching to a Credit Union isn’t as safe as sticking with a bank. We understand these concerns, but the truth is that a Credit Union like GMBCU is just as safe as any high street bank.

For example, GMBCU is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and regulated by the Prudential Regulator Authority (PRA). The purpose of these authorities is to protect customers by ensuring its members - Credit Unions, banks and independent financial advisers - meet its strict regulatory standards.

Plus, GMBCU members’ savings are fully protected up to £85,000 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

This should reassure you that switching to a Credit Union for your savings and loans will benefit  yourself and your community and doesn’t equal jeopardising the safety of your finances.

Stronger Together

Support Credit Unions and you support yourself, your family and the wider community. It’s that simple.

So if you are looking for a loan which will save you money think GMBCU. Feel free to give us a call on 0161 486 1777 or send us an email to info@gmbcreditunion.com.