To all Members, Volunteers, and Strategic Partners.
Now that the world is beginning to return to some sort of normality, it is the right time to talk with you about our collection points as a few of you have recently asked if they are returning.
Prior to the pandemic, Stockport Credit Union operated several collection points each week across various locations. These collection points had existed for many years, served a regular community, and were popular with our volunteers.
When the pandemic arrived, we had no choice but to close them very quickly so that we could protect those who used them and those who operated them. They have now been closed for about 18 months.
Over the last 18 months we have made substantial changes to the way we operate. Partly, we had to, to keep trading, and partly we needed to as we were becoming increasingly out of step with what today’s society demands. It was time for modernisation and significant investment.
We now have our fantastic Nivo app, and virtually every loan application is received through this. Our members love the immediacy of it and the ease of use, and the fact they can operate it 24/7. We love it as it has made our processes far more efficient and safer. We can now process far more loans than before, which is great as demand for our products and services has sharply risen.
We also now have our Member’s Area. This had been under development, but the pandemic caused it to become a top priority. It was launched in September 2020, and we now have over 2000 members regularly using it to access their savings, with more joining every week.
The introduction of Nivo and our Member’s Area has transformed the way that our members access us. Over the last 18 months, virtually nobody has asked for the collection points, and the number who have been totally unable to access our products and services can be counted on one hand. Where support has been needed, our staff have gone the extra mile to find ways to help members.
The result of all of this is that we will not be re-opening most of the collection points. They served a purpose for a long period of time, but that time has now passed. In deciding to take this step, we are mindful that we are following a broader trend with the credit union sector, with many having already ended their collection point service in the years prior to the pandemic.
We do not want to leave any member unable to access our services though, so to ensure that we protect and serve these members we will soon start face to face meetings with members at our First House Brinnington offices (on a booked appointment basis only).
The coming months and years will be a period of great change for all of us as the trend towards a cashless and more digital society gathers pace. We want to embrace this and see great opportunities for creating a stronger larger credit union in Stockport which serves a much greater number of people with far better products and services, but nevertheless we are keen to continue to service the needs of our existing members as well. We feel confident that the approach set out above strikes the right balance.
Chief Executive, Stockport Credit Union