ABCUL is launching a social media campaign Work Not Worry, to raise awareness of the benefits of partnerships with credit unions among employers and to encourage more employers to establish new relationships with their local credit union. Credit unions offer savings and affordable credit facilities with payments deducted from pay.
Evidence suggests that financial stress costs the UK economy £121bn (Neyber 2016) and 30% of employees are making uninformed financial decisions about saving and spending (CIPD, 2017). 26 per cent of working age adults in the UK has no savings and 1 in 4 workers have lost sleep over money worries (CIPD, 2017).
For over 30 years, employers have used the services of credit unions in their workplace. These include household brands and institutions such as Admiral Insurance, Royal Mail, British Airways and the NHS. Research funding by Citi Foundation states that 70% of employees who take advantage of credit union partnerships feel more financially capable and better supported and 83% of employer partnerships demonstrate Corporate Social Responsibility to staff by providing a material benefit at little or no cost to them.
A majority of employers say working with credit unions improves the financial capability of staff and thus helps create a more productive and better supported workforce. This is supported by the Money Advice Service research on employer best practices on financial challenges and their impact in the workplace which states that 59% of employees with current financial worries say money concerns prevent them from performing their best at work.
A key problem in workers’ lack of financial resilience and reliance upon debt is the chronic lack of savings across the income range. However, credit unions’ Save As You Borrow method – which asks people to save a small amount while repaying their loan – has great benefits in creating savings habits. Research by the Fairbanking Foundation found that while only 26% of credit union borrowers saved regularly before joining their credit union, 71% intend on saving regularly after repaying their loan.
Matt Bland, Head of Policy & Communications at ABCUL, said: “In our conversations with employers, it is clear that many are not aware of the financial difficulties facing their staff. Those that do have sadly seen it became a serious issue in the workplace before they had chance to respond. We regularly hear horror stories of people falling into a downward cycle of repeated and escalating payday loans – robbing Peter to pay Paul.
“Credit unions have a proved track record of turning borrowers into savers. Research such as the Save As You Borrow report proves that credit unions are playing a vital role in helping their members become financially responsible. The report shows that credit unions turn 71% of borrowers into savers
and that 96% of employees that are encouraged to use payroll deduction through the credit union have found it helpful.
“All employers have to do once a partnership is set up is spend a couple of minutes making the deductions each pay day – one file transfer, one payment. All employees have to do is agree to a deduction of their choice per month – and it comes directly from their salary, making life easy for everyone”