Save up to 40% on the cost of Your Personal Loan!

The Competition & Consumer Protection Commission have a very handy tool on their website that allows you to make many financial product comparisons. It’s well worth using when you’re thinking about making personal finance decisions. Check it out here.

We just had a look to see what kind of savings a person living in our catchment area of Cork City could make by taking out a loan with The Lough Credit Union instead of one of the highstreet banks.

 

We took a €5,000 over 3 years (36 monthly repayments) as our example and the results are very interesting. Contrary to popular belief a Credit Union loan from The Lough at 9.9% APR over the 3 years is:

€303.44 cheaper than AIB (27.5%)
€87.83 cheaper than BOI (9.9%)
€303.56 cheaper than PTSB (27.5%)
€280.46 cheaper than KBC (26%)
€41.40 cheaper than Ulster Bank (4.9%)

In fact, if you haven’t borrowed from our Credit Union before, or in the past 24 months, then you’d be eligible for our special reduced First Time Borrower rate of 8.3% APR, which would be:

€437.72 cheaper than AIB (39.7%)
€222.11 cheaper than BOI (25%)
€437.84 cheaper than PTSB (39.7%)
€414.74 cheaper than KBC (38.4%)
€175.68 cheaper than Ulster Bank (20.9%)

We’re all about flexibility so why not check out how we can help you help yourself by making a loan query on our loan calculator today. Whether you’re borrowing for a new or used car, home improvements or even just a nice holiday to get away, we’ve got the loan for you.

 

How The Rates Stack Up

Institution Product APR Monthly Repayments Total Cost of Credit
AIB Personal Loan 13% €166.75 1003.04
KBC Personal Loan 14% 168.89 1080.06
BOI* Personal Loan 11.5% 163.54 887.43
PTSB Personal Loan – variable 14.3% 169.53 1103.16
Ulster Bank Personal Loans 10.9% 162.25 841.16
The Lough CU Personal Loan 9.9% 161.10 799.60
The Lough CU First Time Borrower 8.3% 157.37 €665.32

The information in the above table was retrieved from consumerhelp.ie on the 14/03/2016.

* BOI customers can avail of an APR of 7.5% if they currently hold a BOI personal current account, and meet the bank’s specified criteria. BOI rates depend on individual circumstances and may differ from advertised APR. Where applicants do not meet this criteria, their standard variable rate of 11.5% APR will apply to online and phone applications and a variable rate of 12.8% APR to in-branch applications. [As the criteria for 7.5% APR is not made publically available we used the 11.5% rate as the most appropriate comparison]

Drive a better bargain this January.

We’d just like to take this opportunity to wish all our Members a very Happy New Year – we hope everyone is relaxed and re-energised after taking some much deserved time off.

The New & Nearly New Car Market

As finances continue to recover for some people across Cork City there has been a sharp increase in the total sales of new cars. This trend is set to continue with 2016 forecasts suggesting that around 150,000 new cars are expected to be sold nationwide over the course of the year. There will also be considerable value in the nearly new car market due to the increase in attractive trade-in and scrappage offers, many of which will find their way back into the market.

 

Financing the Purchase

For most people getting finance of some sort is essential for buying a new or nearly new car. The finance options available are extensive. Here’s some of the options available to car buyers:

 

1. The Lough Credit Union Car Loan:

While the interest rate may be higher with us than it would be from a finance company it might work out better in the long run. Unlike a PCP or HP, a Car Loan from The Lough Credit Union has the following benefits:

  1. You own your car from day one – we lay no claim to it and you can drive it without worry;
  2. It’s a straight forward loan with regular repayments over an agreed term;
  3. There are no administration fees, set-up fees or hidden charges;
  4. You can pay the loan off early, make lump sum repayments or increase repayments without penalty;
  5. You can sell your car on if you’re circumstances change or if you’d just like to get a different car, and;
  6. Eligible members get free loan insurance.

Our special Car Loan rate of 7.23% APR is available to members purchasing a new or second hand car for domestic or private use with a value greater than €3,500. Members can borrow at the standard rate for cars below this value. (See here to find out what your repayments could be and to request a call back)

 

2. Personal Contract Plans (PCPs):

In the past few years personal contract plans have become quite popular for people buying cars in Cork. These plans operate as a sort of hire purchase hybrid with benefits including lower monthly repayments. Check out the pros and cons of these contracts over at http://www.consumerhelp.ie/pcp – here’s a useful excerpt:

Comparing a PCP with a personal loan
The main difference between using a personal loan and a PCP contract is that with a personal loan you borrow the money, pay for your car, and own it immediately. With a PCP agreement, you don’t own the car, you are hiring it for a period of time, typically 3-5 years. You only own it when you make the final payment. This is important because if you were to run into financial difficulty during your PCP agreement, unlike a personal loan, you cannot sell the car to pay off your debt.

How flexible is a PCP?
These agreements are among the least flexible forms of finance. Because the payments are fixed for the term of the agreement, you cannot usually increase your repayments each month if you wish to do so. If you want to extend the term, you may be charged a rescheduling fee.

While PCPs may seem tempting, with what seem like lower monthly repayments, their complexity can often cost more in the long run and tie consumers into inflexible arrangements. Onerous restrictions set out in the contract can impose limitations on mileage, car condition and service intervals/providers, with penalties often imposed for non-compliance with such conditions.

 

3. Hire Purchase (HPs):

Many ‘car finance loans’ offered by garages and some lenders are actually hire purchase agreements. The difference between these and a personal loan is that you do not own the car until you make the very last payment. Your car dealer will act as an intermediary for the finance company and actually sells the car to the finance company, who in turn rents it to you until the final repayment is made. These can often work out more expensive and if you’re unfortunate enough to fall behind in repayments the car might be recovered by the finance company.

The advice from the Competition & Consumer Protection Commission is “don’t choose long, fixed-repayment agreements if you can get a more flexible personal loan from a credit union or bank.” See more on their website.

 

Our Advice

Before committing to buying a new or nearly new car we’d advise all members and potential members to shop around to get the best finance option for their personal needs.

If you are thinking about changing your car it’s well worth considering all of the available options. PCPs/HPs can work well for some but with a loan from us you will always have the flexibility and convenience you need without having to worry about how you motor.

 

Ways to Apply for a Lough CU Car Loan

phone   Pick up the telephone & Freephone 1800-410-400

  home   Visit one of our branches on Bandon Road or at Shournagh Lawn in Togher

  display   Apply online using our cuOnline banking facility (requires registration)

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.

 ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-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.

UCC Fee Flexibility a Welcome Development

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.

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