Just Credit Union achieves 5 star Fairbanking Mark

29/06/2017

Just Credit Union, the not-for-profit community bank for Shropshire, has received the highest level of national recognition from The Fairbanking Foundation for their loan products.

The prestigious Fairbanking accreditations, which range from three to five stars, are only awarded to individual financial products which pass stringent assessment criteria and an independent survey for both the product itself and the quality of service provided. Just Credit Union was awarded the highest 5 star rating for both their Community Loan and Member Loan products and are currently one of only fifteen accredited financial institutions in the UK. Only eighteen products have been awarded The Foundation’s highest 5 star rating.

Just Credit Union’s Chief Officer, Karen Farrow said, “The fact that Fairbanking Marks are not commonplace reflects the stringent criteria and process used in their extremely robust assessment.  So we are therefore delighted to have achieved the highest possible accreditation.”

“Their assessment of how we operate was in depth and included a product specific survey to test customers’ actual experiences, views and use of the product.  It was particularly encouraging to see the results of the customer survey they undertook and the positive feedback from our members. Just Credit Union not only scored very highly in all areas of its service, but the credit union model we follow was also highly rated.  We consider this to be a fantastic endorsement of the quality of services we offer those who live or work in Shropshire.”

As part of the assessment process, Ipsos Mori conducted 116 telephone interviews in May 2017 with each survey lasting approximately 15 minutes. 98% of those surveyed said that it was helpful to be saving at the same time as paying off their loan.  A similar percentage said the option for making a repayment was ‘very convenient.’ In addition, 91% felt better knowing that help was available should they require it and 75% of borrowers who had missed a payment thought Just Credit Union had been effective in helping them reduce their debt. 58% of customers said they did not save before they joined, 100% had saved ‘at least something’ since joining and 91% said they would continue to save in the long term.

Pat Buchanan, Chair of Just Credit Union, said:  “It is great news that the hard work of the whole Just Credit Union team has been recognised with 5 star awards from the Fairbanking Foundation. It’s a fantastic achievement  and a clear endorsement that we put people before profit and that improving our members financial well-being is central to all we do.”

Antony Elliott OBEB, FCIB, Chief Executive of The Fairbanking Foundation, said:   “We are delighted to award a 5* Fairbanking Mark to Just Credit Union following testing to show that its personal loans are helping to improve the well-being of its members. Many members are seeing positive benefits from budgeting support, easy payments, being encouraged to save up and support when in difficulty. These credit unions are looking to find ways to improve their services. Just Credit Union is one of 11 credit unions with the coveted Fairbanking Mark and we hope that there will be many ore that meet this standard in coming years.”

“Our quality mark programme is an important step in helping customers to identify products that have been rigorously tested for the financial well-being they can deliver. Crucially, it also provides a powerful incentive for financial institutions of all sizes to compete through continual improvement of their products in ways that will truly benefit their customers.”

Deb Morrison from Wrekin Housing Group added, “The Wrekin Housing Trust are proud to work with Just Credit Union and this recognition is very well deserved! They have brought ethical, low cost lending to our communities, allowing access to quality financial service to the most excluded within our neighbourhoods.”

Just Credit Union, which is based 1A Castle Gates, Shrewsbury SY1 2AQ, 01743 252325, info@justcreditunion.org has paid its members a 2% dividend (interest) on their savings for the past six years.

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