Welcome to my first statement under our new name of Celtic Credit Union.
At our Special General Meeting in September 2016, we gained the unanimous support of our members to seek approval from our regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, to change our name and review our Common Bond. The name-change and the expansion of our footprint to better reflect the true nature of our much-expanded operation was confirmed by the FCA, and so Celtic Credit Union was born!
A Time of Change and Development
The changes that we have put into place over the last few months have been significant, but our underlying ethos and our commitment to our existing and new communities remains the same.
Whilst our name has changed to Celtic Credit Union, we will still be operating as Neath Port Talbot Credit Union across Neath and Port Talbot, but the expansion of our Common Bond now allows us to offer our services right across South Wales.
Our current membership stands at just under 10,000 and of these almost 2,500 are residents of Swansea. With the need to serve our existing membership base, and recognising the obvious necessity to bring our services to Swansea communities in general, we have opened a new branch in Swansea city centre.
Our new office in Portland Street, under the banner of Swansea Bay Credit Union is now part of the Celtic Credit Union group and all members – whether they are NPTCU or SBCU members – can now of course use any of our West Glamorgan offices at Neath, Port Talbot, Pontardawe or Swansea, and will receive the same helpful, ethical service.
Whilst all of this has been going on we have also improved and expanded our online facilities.
The launch of our new website will take place this month, offering members and the wider public a much more enjoyable online experience, with enhanced graphics and upgraded provision. In addition to online membership and loan applications, users can now make statement requests and access real time information on account balances.
We are extremely grateful for the support of Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council in the development of our new website. The award of a small development grant was key in enabling us to commission this project.
New Debit Card
We also took the decision recently to change our pre-paid debit card provider and now offer The Change Account debit card. We have negotiated special reduced fees for our members, so that those who apply for The Change Account in our branches or through the link on our new website will pay less than half of the usual monthly rate for this card.
The Change Account offers many enhanced features, such as:
- Direct Debits with the protection of the Direct Debit Guarantee
- No fees for failed Direct Debits
- Secure Budgeting Wallets
- Payment Alerts
- Transparent Costs
- A wide-ranging Rewards Programme
- 24/7 UK-based Customer Support
- Mobile Account Management
The change-over to the new card is already underway for all our current debit cardholders and enquiries for new accounts are welcomed.
Outstanding Business Results
Celtic Credit Union is proud to have achieved self-sustaining status and has grown over the last six years to a level where we now have a substantial influence in the local community with:
4 High Street Branches
1 Business Centre to support our whole operation
1 Mobile Office
28 Payroll Deduction Schemes
35 Community Agencies
44 School Savings Schemes
In addition, we answer 70,000 telephone calls a year; process over 1 million transactions every year with a value of over £40 million; provide over 4,000 members with affordable loans that total over £4 million, and earlier this year the Board of Directors approved an interim dividend of 0.25% with a further review scheduled again for September.
We estimate that all of this activity means that Celtic Credit Union contributes over £15m a year to the local economy. Not bad for a local, ethical, not-for-profit organisation!
With the undoubted success of our operation to date and the benefit of these new initiatives the future of your new Celtic Credit Union is assured.
I am personally confident that we can continue to grow and maintain our ethical, not-for-profit services to even more people over the coming years.
Your Celtic Credit Union continues to go from strength to strength.