Always wondered about how our credit union works, but afraid to ask? We caught up with Lisa Walder, the Deputy Manager of our branch in Peckham to talk you through it.
How do you become a member of London Mutual?
Members have to live or work in one of the boroughs we operate in: Southwark, Lambeth, Westminster or Camden.
They have to open a savings account to start off with – that’s their membership to the credit union. We then have a current account which is optional, if they need benefits, wages, direct debits or standing orders paid into the account. Once you are a member you can also apply for a loan. We also do overdrafts.
What’s the process for becoming a member?
The first thing we’d ask if someone comes in wanting to become a member is, do they live or work in one of our boroughs. If the answer is yes, we can give them the application form. We need a proof of address and photo ID to actually open the account. It usually takes between two-three weeks to open and you receive a welcome pack in the post. Once you’ve got that, you can start using your account.
What makes London Mutual services different from other banks?
Nine times out of ten, you don’t really get to talk to the people in the branch with a standard bank. Whereas here we have a lot of contact with our members. Our customers are like friends we see regularly, and we’re here to help them.
Our interest rates are good. When you take out a loan with us, we ask you to save with us aswell and that’s secured against your loan. If you are in trouble – for example, your benefits or wages have been reduced – we want you to be able to come and tell us so we can reschedule the loan to an affordable payment that suits you.
Can I have my wages paid into my account?
If you work for certain companies we also do payrolls. So if you are applying for a loan and you work, for example, at Guys and St Thomas’, we do payroll for them. So employees can have some of their wages paid straight into their savings accounts.
What can I get a loan for?
People take out loans for all sorts of different things, such as going on holiday, paying bills, childcare, home improvements, funerals, cars. It all depends on what time of year. We have Christmas loans and in the summer it’s usually holidays.
What else do you do to help the community?
We have a scheme called Life Savers, where we work with different schools to encourage the children to save. We go into the schools, invite parents along and explain to them about savings. We help them to fill out application forms.
Usually once a week a teaching assistant would come with a few of the children to pay money in. They set up a little bank in school and every Friday, the children come in with their money and come to us to put it into their accounts. So we’ve got a few schools we are working with at the moment and it’s working well.
Take the first step towards getting your finances sorted by becoming a member of London Mutual today.