Archive for October, 2015

MAS figures show 40% of adults not in control of their finances

Figures published by the Money Advice Service highlight some alarming facts on how people manage their personal finances.

Just some of the statistics include the following:

  • 20% of people can’t read their bank statement
  • 21 million adults don’t have £500 in savings to help cover unexpected bills
  • Of 8 million adults who have problems with debt only around 16% are seeking help.

With their findings the MAS and Financial Capability Board have issued a 10 year Financial Capability Strategy. The overall aim of this is to educate the way people deal with money.

“What the Strategy can and will do is build levels of financial capability to enable more people to navigate changes in their financial circumstances when they occur and help them manage the money they do have.”

Executive Summary, Financial Capability Strategy for the UK

Some of the key focus areas will look at older people in retirement, people in financial difficulty as well as children and young people.

Educating people on managing their finances is something we strongly believe in. Throughout 2014/15 colleagues in the One Advice Group held a number of “Financial Education for Future Generation” sessions for local students.

During the interactive sessions we talked to a range of students about the consequences of spending and lending and offered simple budgeting advice to monitor personal income and expenditure. You can read more about it in our blog.

Details of the Financial Capability Strategy can be found on their website.


Total Individual Insolvencies up in Q3 2015 

Total individual insolvencies have increased for the first time since the second quarter of 2014 according to the Insolvency Service.

Reporting on third quarter figures shows that numbers of bankruptcies and debt relief orders are falling. A rise in IVAs was the cause of an increase in total individual insolvency.

The report highlighted:

  • bankruptcies are at their lowest level since Q4 1990
  • DROs were at the lowest level since Q4 2009.

Just in terms of IVAs  there was a 9.3% increase from Q2 2015 in the following three month period. When comparing IVA figures in Q3 of 2014 there was an actual decrease of 17.9%.

Total individual insolvency figures with the same quarter last year shows an 18.5% decrease.

The Insolvency Service July to September stats can be found on their website.


Tax Credit cuts rejected by House of Lords

Changes to tax credits, scheduled for April 2016 and 2017, have been delayed after being rejected by the House of Lords.

The proposed changes, if unopposed, were predicted by a number of bodies to hit the most financially vulnerable in society. One such analysis was from an independent report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

“An analysis by researchers at the Institute for Fiscal Studies finds that the package of changes to tax, tax credits and benefits will reduce household incomes significantly, particularly for those towards the bottom of the income distribution.” 

Institute for Fiscal Studies

After the vote in the Lords George Osborne signalled that he would heed opposition comments about the cuts and potentially amend the initial proposals. This follows another decision to pause the changes until independent analysis was carried out about the effects of the proposed cuts to tax credits.

Letters were already scheduled to be delivered by the government in December this year until they were rejected.

The Fiscal Studies report can be found on their website.

Manchester Credit Union open their new flagship city centre branch

Hayley Cropper MCU

Last week the One Advice Group showed their support to partners, colleagues and customers by attending the opening of Manchester Credit Union’s (MCU’s) new flagship city centre branch at 48 to 50 Brazennose Street, M2 5EA.

The branch was opened with a special ceremony on International Credit Union Day by soap star Julie Hesmondhalgh who is also a fan and keen supporter. It’s the first ever branch in Manchester city centre, and joins other existing branches and service in Bury, Tameside, Trafford, Rochdale and the High Peak.

All employees at the One Advice Group have the opportunity to save with MCU using the “Payroll Plus”, salary sacrifice scheme. The Group advocates helping customers and colleagues work towards their financial goals and this facilitates colleagues having a savings buffer and peace of mind should an emergency arise.

Julie Hesmondhalgh is well known for her role as Hayley Cropper in the ITV soap opera Coronation Street between 1998 and 2014, a role for which she won Best Serial Drama Performance at the 2014 National Television Awards and Best Actress at the 2014 British Soap Awards.

Julie has been a long term supporter of credit unions and has often spoken in support of the vital work credit unions perform in communities in the North West.

Manchester Credit Union has come a long way since it was created by a group of volunteers in the back of a community centre in Beswick, East Manchester in 1991. Established to offer the people of the local area access to affordable, ethical and friendly financial services, it now serves nearly 20,000 members throughout Greater Manchester.

“We are delighted to be opening our new flagship city centre branch and head office on International Credit Union Day. This year’s theme, People Helping People, embraces the longstanding credit union philosophy on which credit unions in Britain are founded. Together with other credit unions across the Greater Manchester City Region we are offering a real financial alternative to people across the city”.

Manchester Credit Union Chief Executive Christine Moore

The move to the city centre is seen as Manchester Credit Union’s coming of age. The credit union serves employees in hospitals, local authorities, companies and housing associations as well as thousands of individuals and families in local communities. The new city centre branch establishes Manchester Credit Union as an important mutual financial institution serving everyone in the city and the region.

Read more about International Credit Union Day.

The Group and in particular Harrington Brooks, provider of personal debt management plans, support the proposition that customers should be able to have savings on their plan as an agreed line of expenditure, in order to help make the plan sustainable. Recent research suggests that savings of just £1,000 could protect 500,000 households from falling into problem debt.

Adrian Hall Runner Up in 2015 Employee of the Year Award

One Advice Group Adrian Hall

Adrian Hall, Group Regulatory Guidance Manager, recently came runner up in the “Employee of the Year 2015” award, sponsored and hosted by the local Chamber of Commerce. Adrian was nominated because of his “commitment, professionalism and strong client and team engagement”.

By nurturing and mentoring his team, Adrian has assisted in building a department which is rapidly moving from ‘fit for purpose’ status to ‘cutting edge’”. Congratulations Adrian.

In July, the Group also reported the launch of it’s new, enhanced Risk Management Framework; Xactium Risk Manager Software, to satisfy regulatory requirements and to ensure the Group has adequate, sound and appropriate risk management processes and internal control mechanisms. Read more here