Members Survey 2020 – How is Coronavirus affecting your finances?

With multiple sources, reports and references during this pandemic, it can make you dizzy not knowing if you’re in the minority or majority of savers and lenders.

It certainly seems that people’s finances are in a polarised state of either being accidental savers with fewer expenses, or finding their debts escalating out of control, which is why we’d like to ask our members – ‘How is Coronavirus affecting your finances?’.

We will be issuing an online members survey in the next few weeks and encourage as many members to complete and submit their responses. All entries will have the option of entering a free prize draw and it is your decision if you want to remain anonymous.

Thamesbank Credit Union is here to support its members. Please let us know what we can do to help.

Meet the Board – Mukesh Malhotra

Thamesbank’s governance and direction is made by its voluntary board members. The board meets on a regular basis and discusses a range of issues around service, personal finance and what our members would benefit from.

In this new series, we will feature each of our current board members for you to meet the people behind the scenes.

Our first board member to be interviewed is Chairman, Mukesh Malhotra – sitting chair since 2019.

Mukesh Malhotra

“When you know that someone has been helped even on the smallest scale and their life is just a bit easier – that’s a wonderful feeling for me.”

Mukesh, previously Councillor & Deputy Mayor of the London Borough of Hounslow (2017/18), has a Masters Degree in Management & IT, and also holds a specialist qualification of Certified Information Security Manager.

With particular skills and experience in asset allocation and strategy, he has also acted as Chair of a Local Pension Panel which managed a fund selection in excess of £1.2 billion.

He has also presided as Chair to many charities and Third Sector organisations. In his downtime and through his involvement with Hounslow Rotary, Mukesh – impressively, co-founded “Rotary World’s Greatest Meal to Help End Polio” which helped to save over 16.5 Million children from Polio.

As well as his accomplished CV, Mukesh is a proud grandfather of four and enjoys family life with his wife.

Mukesh, thanks for agreeing to be the first under spotlight for ‘Meet the Board’.

Q – To start with, can you give a brief introduction to your background which I can see includes some terrific accolades?

A – I have played a role in the international corporate world in areas such as Risk, Audit, Compliance and Business
Management, with such prestigious names as British Airways, for over 30 years. This has given me an invaluable understanding of the business world which I’ve taken with me in my other capacities, including Deputy Mayor and Councillor in London Borough of Hounslow and now as Chair of Thamesbank Credit Union.

Q – I see from your involvement with Thamesbank Credit Union, Hounslow Rotary Club and pension funds that you regard
Third Sector organisations highly. Would you like to tell us why charitable organisations are important to you?

A – My work with these organisations is driven by feeling good when I help others who – through no fault of their own – find that may need that bit of support. When you know that someone has been helped even on the smallest scale and their life is just a bit easier – that’s a wonderful feeling for me and I’m sure for others all to have. It’s also incredibly social and I get to know members of the local community.

Q – What was it that got you specifically involved in governance of Credit Unions, and Thamesbank specifically?

A – I have been involved with the Cooperative movement since I first started working. Credit Unions are an alternative to highstreet banks and pay-day loan companies. If we can continue to grow our membership base by making people in the community aware of the more affordable loans and benefits of saving with their Credit Union, then I believe we’re making a difference to the local economy.

Q – I think you’ll agree that personal finance, savings and loans, is a competitive market. What are your top 3 reasons for joining a Credit Union as opposed to a high-street bank?

A –
1. Typically, Credit Unions offer higher interest rates on deposits.
2. We’re a community-led organisation with real emphasis on customer service – you can always speak to someone.
3. By design, Credit Union members help other members by enabling those to have access to the financial system.

Q – Money issues and personal finance are often difficult subjects to approach, for whatever the reason good or bad and with either family or friends. What is your approach to managing your money – do you have a tip for saving, and do you think rewards for hitting saving goals work?

A – I’ve had a simple philosophy and have shared this with my children and my friends.
I call it: 50/30/20 or 50/20/30 rule.

Depending on your personal circumstance
a) Use 50% to cover your regular expenses
b) Then use 30% or 20% to cover your incidental costs
c) Then use 30% or 20% to save every month depending on your personal circumstances.

It’s a great tip to list your must-haves and nice-to-haves, an alternative way of looking at this is your emergency and non-emergency funds – those payments which just have to be paid and those which you can buy after a few months of saving. Ideally, I like to save between 3 to 6 months of savings as security in case something happened to my job and I make sure not to touch that.

I always look forward to holidays and special celebrations with the family. To me, those are part of my must-haves and I make it a priority once my other essential payments have been paid out.

Q – And finally, can you reveal any exciting developments happening within Credit Unions, or

A – Yes, we’re looking at a few new developments for Thamesbank. We’re in the process of launching a new website and hope this will be live soon. It’s been a priority for us to support our Marketing initiatives.

We are also going to support our local communities with revised savings and loans which will support different needs and requirements. We’ve already launched our first new loan – the Key Worker Loan offered at a really preferential rate.

In the long-term, it’s important for us to look at ways to continue to serve our members in the best possible way. There’s potential for a new Debit Card with lots of benefits when you use it.

With thanks to Mukesh Malhotra, Chair Thamesbank Credit Union

Send in your questions to the board:

Reduced rates for new key worker loan

We recently launched our new Key Worker Loan as our way of supporting Key Workers who are going above and beyond during COVID-19 pandemic.

While we offered preferential and competitive rates, we’ve been able to reduce these further and Key Worker loans are now 0.5% (6.3% APR).

Borrow between £750 – £1,000 and repay up to five years. Available to any member who identifies as a Key Worker, as listed by UK Government for whatever your financial need.

All applications are subject to eligibility and credit checks.

As with all our loans, there’s no set-up fee, or early repayment charges, or executive salaries to pay.

Apply online today

Ruth Cadbury – MP for Brentford and Isleworth

At Thamesbank, we’re always looking at lending trends in the local communities. With Pay-day loans so readily available at extortionate rates many households find themselves with unmanageable debts. Spending habits can depend on loans and with the right interest rates loans can be manageable without the need for escalation.

We recently spoke with our local MP, Ruth Cadbury about these problems in our common-bond and how lending with Credit Unions compare to Pay-day loan companies.

Speak to us today to find out how we can help, or refer us to a friend. Together, we can build a local economy that is community-focused.

“Too many people locally end up using loans with crippling interest rates. That’s why the community-owned Credit Union is a safe and affordable way to borrow money.” Ruth Cadbury MP