CLEVR Money, the Blackpool, Fylde, Wyre and Preston credit union, has welcomed back a familiar face as one of its new managers, among a raft of new appointments. Anthony Brookes has been appointed Business Development and Collection Manager at the Blackpool-based credit union in Birley Street.
Previously a loans officer for seven years with the local credit union, Anthony has returned to the not-for-profit business after three years away. Despite the new trading name, CLEVR Money, everything else feels pretty familiar.
“I have had an incredible welcome, and it has been wonderful meeting up with so many of the members I’ve worked with before,” said Anthony. “I’ve been out and about in the community catching up with members and seeing what I can do to help them get their finances on track, and reminding people just how much the credit union can do for them.
“I’m also enjoying getting to know my new colleagues and our newer members, and I’m loving the great new look of the office. Over the next few weeks I’ll be setting up appointment sessions in community hubs throughout the area, hopefully making it easier for people who struggle to get to the branch in Blackpool and for those who prefer a face-to-face meeting rather than applying on line.”
The credit union has gone through a number of changes during Anthony’s absence, including being rebranded as CLEVR Money, the launch of a new website, expansion in Preston and the appointment of Jackie Colebourne, who was the very first member of staff, to Governance and Administration Manager.
The team has also recently expanded, with the arrival of new loans officer Kenny Connelly and apprentice business administrator Jordan Moorhouse. They join assistant manager Andrew Moulding and loans officer Michelle Swain at the Birley Street office.
Between them, Anthony and Jackie will head up the credit union operation and hope to increase the number of people CLEVR Money helps with fair and affordable loans. These are available to people who live or work within the ‘common bond area’, which involves Blackpool, Fylde, Wyre and Preston.
Jackie said: “With interest rates set at a fair level and capped by the government, we provide members with an ethical alternative to the sky-high interest rates of the doorstep and payday lenders, and a genuine option for those excluded by the banks. In difficult times when so many people are tightening their belts, easy credit can be very tempting. But the repayments can soon get out of control and people are paying back so much more than they borrowed and can easily get into trouble. That’s where we come in as a safety net.
“We also work with members to help make sure they can keep on top of their finances and many actually turn from borrowers into savers. In fact I’m delighted that members saved more than £172,000 in their Christmas savings accounts this year. It shows that being a member of a credit union really does work for many people, and we’re hoping to welcome many more into our club the new year.”
As part of his role, Anthony will also be reaching out to Payroll Partners old and new. He is set to visit all of the credit union’s existing partners, those organisations and businesses which provide employee savings schemes, which include Slater Gordon Solutions, Danbro, the Fylde Coast YMCA, Blackpool Council, the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Blackpool Coastal Housing, and Great Places Housing Association.
He will also be speaking to other organisations across the area to demonstrate the benefits to staff of getting involved with the credit union in the hope of welcoming new Payroll Partners. He said: “I am really looking forward to engaging with the Fylde Coast and Preston business communities.
“Money worries are one of the biggest causes of stress and for some people it can really impact on their ability to do their job. Employers can help their workforce by offering membership of a credit union, with all of the benefits and support that provides. We can help them put money away direct from their salary and provide access to ethical loans if needed. It’s so simple for a business to set up, we do all of the leg work, and it can make such a huge difference to the lives of their employees.”