24 Jun The UK banking revolution For Credit Unions begins

Engage, the UK Credit Union’s NEW exclusive banking and payments brand is now driving expansion and developing stronger partnerships with members and communities

A new era for the UK Credit Union movement began this week with the official launch of the Engage programme.

Developed and funded by Contis Group, the Engage programme has been designed specifically to support Credit Unions of all sizes by providing them with a comprehensive suite of accounts and member services, along with the most affordable and advanced banking, administration and back office accounting platform available.

The launch of Engage will initially benefit over 100 UK credit unions and their members, with the programme currently growing by at a rate of 10+ new partners a month.

Member benefits and services – designed by and for UK credit unions

After working successfully within the sector for over 10 years, in February 2015 Contis reached out to over 200 credit unions during a national roadshow of seminars in order to gain reaction to their innovative banking, payments, administration and member accounts solution.

The result is the Engage programme, a nationally-branded-solution for all credit union related services.

Historic entry limitations due to size, resource or funding have been completely removed and now every Credit Union has the opportunity to provide their members with a complete range of accounts and services, including a basic account for those who were previously financially excluded, or the new Engage current account with direct debit facility.

Local entrepreneurs and traders previously ignored or excluded by high street banks can now obtain an Engage Credit Union Business Account and junior members aged 12-16 can benefit from the Engage Smartcash Personal Account, giving them freedom to shop and spend their pocket money safely using a Visa debit card, whilst allowing parents to monitor their activity.

All accounts come with a sort code and account number, which means they can accept BACS, faster payments and international money transfers automatically.

As an Engage partner, Credit Unions provide their members with exclusive cashback offers and discounts of up to 15% on everyday shopping and can potentially save them hundreds of pounds every year by delivering money off their utility bills, insurance costs, mobile phone and broadband charges.

Geoff Leech, Managing Director of Engage programme, said of the new accounts and member rewards package

“The Engage product range was developed using valuable input from our existing Credit Union partner, so they can talk banking and payments as if they were one national organisation, whilst staying independent in their local practices. We now have the ideal platform to allow the Credit Union movement to have with ENGAGE a national banking brand while playing to their strengths as Local community financial institutions.”

An holistic banking, administration and account solution

Membership of Credit Unions has more than doubled in the last decade. However, the promised technical capability they required to cope with this growth, promised by initiatives such as the much lauded Credit Union Expansion Plan has failed to materialise. Furthermore, it appears that current banking and administration platforms available to them are falling short of providing future proof capability and reliable service at an affordable cost.

The Engage programme provides partner Credit Unions with the most comprehensive banking, administration and payments technology available, not only delivering the capability to service members and run their operation more effectively, but the ability to effortlessly cope with increased business levels and the resultant administration burden.

The Engage banking and administration platform is also designed to address future issues that may arise due to continuous advancements in technology and other factors including benefit reforms and changes in payment provision.

Peter Cox, Executive Chairman of Contis says, ”The Engage programme understands that for Credit Unions to survive they must attract a wider range of investors and be able to sustainably support their own commercial activity in the future. We at Contis also see that Credit Unions are ambitious to grow, but often stymied by slow support systems, outdated technology and financial packages historically available to them.

“This is where our capability and resources will help.”

“Credit unions can no longer be heavily reliant upon the traditional banking sector for access to payment services; we can help them take control of their own destiny through the Engage programme and the technology and capability it delivers., This will allow Credit Unions to attract a wide diversity of members by offering a simple, competitive financial one stop shop range of banking and loyalty solutions.

“We are proud to have supported the movement for over 10 years and through Engage, Contis are committed to helping Credit Unions achieve their expansion goals for many years to come”.

Obtaining an account with the Credit Union can be done in minutes and in doing so, members can wave goodbye to overdraft fees and unwanted penalty charges.

Members can easily manage their money, pay bills, transfer funds, set up standing orders and speak with a UK based customer service support team 6 days a week. The accounts also help members to budget monthly for important bills like rent and utilities.

Unlike traditional payments systems, Engage serves as the bank, debit card issuer and payment processor, using the latest FCA and Visa approved technology. Every aspect of the programme is customisable and is wholly-managed by Contis so in becoming an Engage partner, Credit Unions retain full control of their future development.