The newly appointed Chair of Just Credit Union outlines his plans

08/04/2019

The newly appointed chair of Shropshire’s not-for-profit community bank is local man Mark Perez.

He has been a director and joint secretary of Just Credit Union for five years and three years respectively. And the 44 year old has been outlining his plans for Just Credit Union for the next three years.

“This is a very exciting and challenging time,” said Mark. “The biggest challenge is keeping pace with rapidly changing technology and staying relative to the public.

“At the same time as expanding our base, we need to make sure the credit union is  a sustainable entity by encouraging new members, borrowers and savers.

“The future is increasingly technology-based and the balancing trick will be finding the place between an online presence and the human touch.

“If someone can access the information they need online we can do that, but at the same time if they want to speak to a human being and have a human answer that is a simple option available to them as well.”

Mark revealed that he has a three year plan for Just Credit Union which serves Shropshire as well as Telford and Wrekin.

“It is to find the role, make my mark and plan my succession.  Fresh blood and a diverse perspective will be the way forward when I hand over the reins after three years.”

Shropshire born and bred, Mark spent a year in London in sales on leaving Bangor University and moved back to the county in 1998. He worked at the former Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council and then the former unitary authority in welfare as a benefits assessor and welfare visiting officer meeting people in their homes. His vocation encompassed working with young people, including those with learning difficulties and the disabled, up to older people of pensionable age.

“The role with Just Credit Union,” said Mark, who lives in Shrewsbury with his long-term partner, “is very much in line with core values in so much as everyone should have access to adequate, suitable financial products.

“People shouldn’t have to borrow at 1,500% and be exploited simply because they are not big buck earners.”
Mark took voluntary redundancy with the idea of training as a financial adviser. However, a role came up as a support worker with Shropshire Housing Alliance five years ago.

“This is working with people who are often excluded from mainstream finance which makes it difficult for them to access suitable accommodation,” he explained.

“The role has developed over the last five years and I manage a young persons’ hostel and a care leaver project.”

Shropshire Housing Alliance is now part of the Wrekin Housing Group for which Just Credit Union carries out their payroll deduction.

In his leisure time Mark is a keen runner and has been accepted for the London Marathon at the ninth time of applying. Over the last seven years he has run five marathons , 40 half marathons and three ultra marathons.