Some of Britain’s biggest retail firms have thrown their support behind retailCURe, a new credit union, supported by RetailTRUST, which enables retailers to ensure that their employees can access responsible and affordable credit and savings products.
RetailCURe is reaching out to all 4.5 million retail employees in the UK, offering market-beating rates on savings accounts; 1% on easy access, 2% on 12 month accounts and 3% on two year deposits. Savers can deposit a maximum of £15,000 in these strictly limited issue accounts.
Notable retailers to have signaled support for the credit union to date include the John Lewis Partnership, Schuch, Pets at Home, Ryman, Debenhams, Iceland and New Look. Building a nest egg with the Credit Union is pain free as many employers allow staff to pay directly into the credit union from their wage packet.
Current research demonstrates that younger staff working in retail do not save enough money. Research suggests that millennials need to save 8% of their salary to enable them to retire comfortably. More worryingly 33% of all people aged 18 – 24 have no savings at all. And this is not limited to younger age groups, almost one quarter of people aged between 35 and 49 have failed to save a single pound.
Personal debt levels in the UK are also increasing, with the growth of high cost loan providers, and financial issues have been identified as one of the major causes of stress, anxiety and depression. A record 600,000 people sought advice for debt problems from StepChange Debt Charity in 2016, equating to one person every 53 seconds.
All Members have access to loans from £500 to £10,000, available over 6 months to five years, at interest rates typically at 9.9% depending upon personal circumstances. All loans have a compulsory element of savings which helps the employee build a financial buffer to manage unexpected emergencies.
As a not-for-profit Mutual, any surplus funds retailCURe generates will be returned to members.
Speaking of the launch, Richard Boland Smith, Chief Executive of RetailTRUST and Non-Executive Director at retailCURe explained: “The financial crisis has seen banks, the traditional providers of financial services, becomes less willing to provide loans to people of average earnings, or the financially vulnerable. Small deposits have effectively been discouraged by persistently poor rates of return. These economic conditions have meant that more and more people are turning to high-cost lenders to bridge the gap between wages and the cost of living.
“RetailCURe is a direct response to this challenging environment. We are run by the Retail Industry for the Retail Industry and are committed to improving the wellbeing of all involved in retail.”
Theo Paphitis, Chairman, Theo Paphitis Retail Group, commented: “RetailCURe is a personal finance game changer for people working in the retail industry. It’s an opportunity to avoid the clutches of payday lenders by having access to low interest rate loans and is a mechanism to save regularly, which for some, is a first.”