5 Festive Tips for a carefree Christmas.

 

1. Make a list & check it twice.
Don’t be that person who saunters into town or Mahon Point on Christmas Eve with a dozen presents to get. Firstly, you’ll end up buying rubbish presents, and secondly, you’ll end up spending a small fortune. Spend some time making a list of who you want to buy for. Be realistic with your budget and identify a few possible options for each person. Then all you have to do is make sure you stick to your list and budget. Shop around by comparing prices online and in shops around Cork and don’t be afraid to haggle with local shops.

 

2. Avoid all types of hangover.
Christmas is a time of year where we all overdo it a little bit so try to take it handy on the food, drink and spending and you’ll be grateful in January. In particular we’d recommend a sensible approach to spending over the festive period – nobody benefits from a dirty debt hangover in the New Year. Prioritise spending quality time with family and friends rather than spending lots of money on things, be it food, drink or gifts. If you do need to borrow make sure it’s only for a small amount and get a saving plan in place for next year! Keep away from the credit cards and moneylenders and be sensible with your money – if you have to borrow do so at a reasonable interest rate with repayments that suit.

 

3. Start a Secret Santy.
Setting expectations can be useful at Christmastime. Obviously there’s a different set of rules for the kids but managing expectations as to what Santa can or can’t deliver on is most helpful, especially when the Christmas list is 53 pages long. For adults – be it family, colleagues or groups of friends – “Secret Santy” is a great idea to help save on costs and avoid buying a dozen different presents – plus you’ll end up getting one good present rather than loads of Lynx Shower Kits/Candles/Socks etc.

 

4. Save yourself for the sales.
It’s madness to splash out on lots of clothes in the run up to Christmas when prices will tumble on Stephen’s day and all throughout January. Think of how sick you’ll be when you see that jacket you bought at half price a few weeks later! You can also pick up lots of winter clothes for next year at knock-down prices in the sales as well as all the Christmas decorations and wrapping paper you could ever dream about, helping you to cover the cost of Christmas 2016 already!

 

5. Start saving for next year.
As we mentioned already if you can avoid taking on debt to pay for Christmas then you should. Lots of members of The Lough Credit Union save a small amount every week over the course of the year to help cushion the December blow, so once January comes think about how much you’d be willing to save every week to make next year more manageable – €20 per week would leave you with around €1000 for next year!

 

Most importantly, be safe, merry and enjoy the most wonderful time of the year!

Christmas Opening Hours

 

The Lough CU launches Personal Micro Credit pilot.

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 ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-Please note: Unfortunately, we are prevented by law from offering this loan to any person who is not eligible for membership of our Credit Union, so to avoid disappointment we would advise anyone interested in applying to verify if you can join by checking out the map on our Membership page – if you live or work within our catchment area you can join. We are the only Cork City based Credit Union participating in this pilot.                  ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

We’re delighted to announce the launch of a new Personal Micro Credit Project (PMC) which will be piloted initially in our Credit Union along with over 30 other credit unions across the country. The aim of the project is to make small affordable loans available to those on social welfare in our area and is a concerted effort to combat moneylenders. All applications will be subject to approval and an assessment of affordability.

 

The project will be run in partnership with the Department of Social Protection, the Citizens Information Board, the Social Finance Foundation and An Post and is open to social welfare recipients. Those who would like to avail of this type of loan will need to join The Lough Credit Union (if not already a member) and sign up for repayments to be made to the loan via the Household Budget Scheme which is run by An Post.

 

As a Credit Union we’re delighted to take part in this pilot scheme. We are all well aware of the penal interest rates charged by moneylenders, both legal and illegal, in local communities. This pilot scheme will highlight that The Lough Credit Union is a real option for people who are on social welfare in The Lough and Togher areas of the city.

 

The target audience for the scheme are those who are excluded from mainstream credit. Essentially, the aim is to offer small loans to those using or considering using a moneylending service. The project is working to create a realistic offering to counter the ‘convenience and ease’ advantage that moneylenders have in this country. An eligible person can apply for a loan of between €100 and €2,000. This type of loan will be distinct from a standard Credit Union loan.

 

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The Central Bank estimates that about 360,000 (2013 Report on Licensed Moneylending Industry) people are using moneylending services in Ireland. This does not take into account those using unlicensed operators. Interest charged on loans from moneylenders can be 290% or even higher. The maximum interest rate which credit unions can charge is 12% (12.68% APR).Credit unions have been particularly vocal throughout the recession years about the dangers of using moneylending services as in many cases, those who avail of this type of credit are getting trapped in a cycle of debt which is very hard to break free from.

 

Information on the pilot scheme will be available in Money Advice and Budgeting Services (MABS) and St. Vincent de Paul (SVP) offices.

 

Commenting on the initiative, John-Mark McCafferty, Head of Social Justice with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, said:
“We have been advocating for an alternative to high cost moneylenders for some time and we warmly welcome the leadership shown by credit unions in the pilot to provide this product for people on social welfare who are eligible. We are working with our credit union colleagues locally throughout the pilot sites in order to ensure take-up of the scheme and more affordable credit for the households we assist”.

 

For more information please download The “It Makes Sense” Loan leaflet on our downloads page.

* Specific terms and conditions apply. Loans are subject to approval. The Lough Credit Union is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

Put ’em under pressure.

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When Jonny Walters’ 2nd goal hit the back of the net on 70 minutes last night the Aviva was rocking and a whole nation erupted with joy. For just the third time ever the Boys in Green are on route to the Euros and there will undoubtedly be an army of green behind them as they go on a mission to set the record straight after what was a depressingly disappointing outing in Poland nearly three and a half years ago.

 

We’ve put together a quick checklist of some things you might need to get sorted before you try to navigate the continent:

  • Return flights/Campervan/A loan of a boat
  • Match tickets
  • Jumpleads for the van
  • Joxer & the lads
  • Somewhere to stay
  • An adequate supply of jocks and socks, and maybe a sleeping bag
  • An Ireland jersey (Preferably of the West Germany ‘88 Vintage, although a 2002 World Cup edition will suffice)
  • A Nokia 3310 out of retirement (can’t be dealing with that iPhone charge!)
  • Gary Breen out of retirement
  • A very understanding boss
  • Your Leaving Cert French Oral notes (of particular use will be the vocabulary in the notes titled “Le Sport” and “Mes Vacances”)
  • A dusty bodhrán, tin whistle or other miscellaneous trad instrument, so you can play the Kerry Polka and that other song you don’t know the name of sixteen thousand times
  • A few bob spending money
  • The emergency “if Ireland get to the final” fund
  • A back up green t-shirt with the obligatory Father Ted reference
  • An endless supply of hope and dreams

 

In 2012 we paid out a large number of loans to members travelling to the Euros and we expect that this time will be no different. So why not take the pressure off and talk to us about a holiday loan to help get you to France and back again for what could be a once in a lifetime tournament. We can be of particular assistance in sorting finance for the items listed in bold – we’re sure you can sort the rest.

 

Visit Loan Calculator

Attention new & first time borrowers.

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At The Lough Credit Union (LCU) we always try to keep our finger on the pulse with our members and people living or working in our area. Over the past few months we’ve been researching what services and products our members are looking for and we’ve found out that there’s lots of people around The Lough, Togher and surrounding areas that are thinking about borrowing for the first time but don’t know how to go about applying for a loan, or just haven’t decided where they want to borrow from.

 

In response to this we’re launching our brand new First Time Borrower loan product today for a limited time only at the reduced interest rate of 8.3% APR*.

 

This new loan does exactly what it says on the tin and can be taken out for any purpose. The rate is available to:
1. All new members that join LCU;
2. Existing members that have not borrowed from us before, or;
3. Existing members that have borrowed from us before but who have not had a loan in the last 24 months, i.e. their previous loan completed in full over 24 months ago.

 

We know that taking out a loan can be a frustrating experience, particularly when it’s your first time, so we’ve tailored this loan and our application process to be as hassle-free as possible. We’re always trying to ensure that we keep things as efficient as possible while ensuring we comply with increased regulatory requirements.

 

Check out what your repayments could be.

 Visit Loan Calculator

Use this calculator to see what your repayments might be, pop in your contact details, and we’ll get back to you ASAP to discuss your needs or to start processing your application.

 

All loans are subject to approval. Lending criteria, terms & conditions apply. For information in relating to the supporting documentation that may be required with a loan application please see the information on our Loans page. This rate is available to qualifying persons from the 5th of October 2015 until the close of business the 30th of November 2015.

 

* The reduced rate refers to the difference between the new First Time Borrower rate and our personal loan rate of 9.9% APR.

 

See how we stack up against other lenders in the market over at the Consumer Protection website! You might be surprised.

 

The T&C’s
• Rate is only available to members of The Lough Credit Union Limited. If you’re not already a member you can download an application in our download section.
• Minimum loan amount of €200 required.
• A minimum of 10% of the loan amount value must be held by the member in savings in their credit union account as security against any loan. Savings held in this manner may not be withdrawn until the loan balance falls below this savings balance, at which point the difference between the loan balance and savings balance will become accessible. For example, if a new member wished to borrow €3,500.00 a minimum of €350.00 would have to be kept in savings until the loan balance falls below €350.00.

Eat, sleep, save, repeat.

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Check out The Lough Credit Union’s 10 Top Tips for UCC students!

As an eventful Freshers Week 2015 draws to a close there’s one last thing all UCC students should do before the week is out and that’s join The Lough Credit Union.

There’s loads of reasons to sign up but here’s just 3 for your brains to process towards the end of what has probably been a very long week:

1. Our Great Rate Education Loan
As a Member you can apply for our Education Loan to help with the student contribution, which might come in handy in January or even next year, and if you can’t afford to take out a loan yourself a parent or guardian could avail of the reduced rate or even go as guarantor. An Education Loan can also help cover the costs of accomodation, laptops, books and any other expense that helps fill that big brain of yours with knowledge. Check out what your repayments would be over on our Loan Calculator.

2. Online & Mobile Banking
We have free full online banking functionality with our “CU-Online” facility, so if you’re ever down to your last pack of Koka noodles and it’s only Wednesday, you can be shamefully bailed out by the National Bank of Mammy & Daddy – they’ll be able to eletronically transfer the money from their bank account into your credit union account using your BIC & IBAN in just a few clicks. (And you can transfer it back when you have it!)

Our online banking is also backed up by our free CU-Anywhere mobile app for iOS and Android devices meaning you can manage your CU finances on the go. The app allows you to sign in an view your CU account balances, make internal and external electronic transfers as well as providing handy access to our mobile website and facebook page.

3. We’re Social
Credit unions are the original crowdfunders. We have been pooling people’s resources together to maximise their benefit for everyone since long before crowdfunding was even a thing. We operate under a co-operative, not-for-profit ethos so everything we do is driven by servicing our Members’ needs, not by corporate greed. We work closely with people and groups in the community and our strategic direction is set by our volunteer Board of Directors which is made up of people from the community.

Any surplus we generate is returned to our Members annually after meeting reserve requirements either through the payment of a dividend on savings, an interest rebate on loans repaid or by reinvesting the money in improving or developing new services.

If you think you might like to join why not visit our membership page and get the ball rolling. You’d be mad not to.

Our Charity with a Difference

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For many years our credit union and our members’ have helped some of the poorest people in the world to have access to their own credit union. Through our support of the ILCU Foundation we are making a difference the world over.

 

Why our credit union & our members’ support the ILCU Foundation: 
In Cork City, we know the positive effects that The Lough Credit Union has made in our community. The work of ILCU Foundation in the developing world is hugely important as it supports credit unions to provide credit and saving facilities for poverty-stricken communities. Credit unions in low-income and developing countries can serve poor and marginalised people in society, who are normally overlooked by banks.

 

The history of the ILCU Foundation:
The ILCU Foundation was founded in 1980 and its mission is “to alleviate poverty in developing countries by supporting credit unions, their representative bodies and other co-operative type organisations as a means for socio-economic development through the provision of financial and technical assistance”.

The ILCU Foundation was set up out of a responsibility to share the success of the Irish credit union movement with similar movements in developing and low-income countries.

 

What type of work does the ILCU Foundation undertake?
The ILCU Foundation provides training for staff, directors and volunteers in credit unions in developing countries to ensure that the credit union is run in the best possible manner. It also helps to develop grassroots credit unions and guide more mature credit union movements through legislation and regulation.

Ted O'Sullivan sharing his knowledge with the attendants of a training course in Ethiopia.
Ted O’Sullivan, Douglas Credit Union, sharing his knowledge with the attendants of a training course in Ethiopia.

 

The Credit Union Effect – Shifine Mamo – Member of Gerda Busa Credit Union
Profit earned from trading vegetables that she produced on her small farm has allowed widowed mum -of- four Shifine Mamo to send all of her children to school. And following the recent graduation of her son from technical college, she is determined that her other children will also finish their education. 45-year-old Shifine is a founder member of the village credit union established with support from the ILCU Foundation in Gerda Busa village, Ethiopia, eight years ago.

Widowed mum of four Shifine on her farm in Gerda Busa village, Ethiopia
Widowed mum of four Shifine on her farm in Gerda Busa village, Ethiopia

She has received several loans from the credit union, and has used them to buy two half acre plots of land close to the village. She has bought a pump and other equipment to irrigate the crops, and now has two productive vegetable plots. Shifine is now able to grow and sell several crops of onion, tomato and other vegetables, each year. Last year she borrowed 6,000 Ethiopian Birr (€ 250) to invest in farm improvements, and at her most recent harvest sold her produce for five times that amount. ‘It is hard to raise your children without their father, but it would have been much harder for me if I hadn’t been able to start this business with help from the credit union,’ she said. Shifine Mamo sells some of the produce that she grows to local traders, but uses it also for her family. ‘We now have a much better diet,’ she said.

Shifine is optimistic about the future, and believes that her role as a member of her local savings and credit cooperative can benefit others in her community. ‘It is pleasing to see others saving and borrowing from our group, and getting the chance to increase their income and make better lives for themselves,’ she adds.

Our support of the ILCU Foundation will ensure that people like Shifine will continue to have access to a credit union to develop her farm and improve the standard of living for her family.

 

If you would like to read more about this life changing work please visit www.ilcufoundation.ie

UCC Fee Flexibility a Welcome Development

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We’re just a few short weeks away from the beginning of the academic year in UCC and with close to 20,000 students set to return to Leeside there is a buzz about the city.

 

The good news for new and returning UCC students is that the college is now offering payment plans for students to help make paying the student contribution that bit more manageable. The flexibility introduced over the past five or six years is definitely to be welcomed and should help alleviate the financial burden experienced when going to third level.

 

For students who wish to pay the balance of the student contribution up front they will be looking at paying in two installments –  €1,665 upon registering and the remaining balance of €1,500 on or before the 31st of January in 2016.

 

The college is also offering three undergraduate payment plans for paying the €3,000 contribution with options including six installments of €500, eight installments of €375 or one installment of €1,500 and three further installments of €500. Other plans are also available for undergraduate repeat year fees, post-graduate tuition and for students required to pay for full tuition and the contribution.

 

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Check out the full terms and conditions of the plans here.

It’s also worth taking a look at the Fees Office page – there’s lots of helpful information there about how and when students can make their payments.

Check out our special reduced rate Education Loans.

 Loan Calculator

All for One and One4All

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Attention Members & Potential Members – fancy a chance of winning a €50 One4All voucher? Well, for the next ten days to promote the launch of our new website we’re running this competition, and at the end of it we’ll be giving one voucher away to a lucky member or potential member.

To be in with a chance to win all you have to do subscribe to our mailing list below or at the counter in one of our branch offices. Simples.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

Don’t forget to share on facebook!

 

We’re collecting emails so that we can better communicate with our members and potential members about what’s happening at our Credit Union and in the local community, as well as occasionally updating you about all our great services and loans, new and old. By entering this competition you’re consenting to receiving these communications from us, but not to worry, we promise we won’t ever spam you, and if you no longer wish to hear from us there’ll be an opt-out option at the end of every communication.

 

Full Terms & Conditions
1. Only entries from members of The Lough Credit Union or individuals eligible for membership of The Lough Credit Union will be considered as valid entries. To be considered eligible for membership you must work or reside within our catchment area which can be found here.
2. Entrants must be over the age of 18.
3. Entries must be received via the sign-up form available on www.loughcu.ie or in one of our offices.
4. The winner will be selected by random draw in our office on Tuesday the 1st of September 2015.
5. The successful entrant will be contacted via the email address used for entry.
6. The successful entrant will be requested by email to contact the credit union to arrange collection of the prize at one of our offices. Where this email goes unanswered for 5 days or more we reserve the right to redraw from the remaining valid entries.
7. Entries are limited to one per person. The use of multiple email accounts by the same person will result in an invalid entry.
8. By entering the competition you are consenting to receiving electronic marketing messages from The Lough Credit Union to the email address provided. You will be provided with the option to opt-out of receiving further communication by email in any communications we send.

Say Hello to the all new loughcu.ie

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We’re delighted to introduce our members to our brand new website which has been in development over the past couple of months. We hope you like it!

We believe that the functionality provided by this site is the first step in providing our members with a genuine full service, community-based alternative to the for-profit banking sector. While many banks have embarked on programmes of branch closure and operational rationisation over the past few years, we have endeavoured to maintain a high standard of personal, face-to-face service at both our offices on Bandon Road and in Togher. We believe that people living in our community deserve to have access to basic financial services on their doorstep without having to pay astronomical fees and charges or without the frustration of always being shoved in the direction of machines and computers.

However, we also identified the need to develop an online and electronic services platform that provides our members with a quick, easy and interactive means of sorting our their finances whether they are in a position to call into our offices or not. The development of this site is in addition to the our recent roll out of our CU-Online facility and our CU-Anywhere mobile app. Indeed we see it as a strategic imperative to bring our services and products directly to our members via the latest technology. This website is designed to provide our members with better quality information about our products, services and activities in a more user-friendly manner than our old website.

We also aim to develop the functionality of this site so that members will be able to avail of the majority of in branch services on the go or from the comfort of their own living rooms. Indeed our ultimate objective is for members of The Lough Credit Union to be in a position to close their bank accounts and look after all their personal finance needs exclusively with us without having to worry about getting to the branch or missing out on the most up-to-date products and services on the market. So with that thought we’d like to invite you to take a look around and tell us what you think.