School Savings Scheme

The benefits of teaching children about money early on are both immediate and long term.

In the short term, they may develop strong savings habits, learn how to make smart purchases and learn why they can’t immediately get everything they want.  In the long term, you can help them avoid getting into debt.  And by teaching the value of saving for the future, you can put them on the road to financial security.

Savings is a habit.  It is learned by doing.  If a child can develop a savings habit at a young age, it stays with them for life.  Saving gives children a feeling of independence and a sense of responsibility.  Having their own savings accounts helps children to learn how to manage their money.  The key element is not how much they save; it’s developing the habit of saving small amounts on a regular basis.

It couldn’t be easier to be part of Bannvale Credit Union’s School Savings Scheme, if your child already has an account with us just send in their Green Book and savings, on the schools designated saving day and we will do the rest.

Alternatively if they don't already have an account just call into any of our offices to complete a membership application form, we need valid photographic ID and recent proof of address for the signing parent, and a copy of the long birth certificate for each child joining.  Minor applicants aged 7 years and over, are required to sign on application forms and any subsequent withdrawals.

Irish League of Credit Unions survey finds families in Northern Ireland turning to moneylenders at back-to-school time



  • Parents paying on average £754 per primary school child and £1,160 per secondary school child
  • Over a third of parents getting into debt trying to cover back-to-school costs
  • More than a third of those in debt have turned to a doorstep lender/payday loan company to cope with the back-to-school spend
  • Three quarters of parents see the school spend as a financial burden
  • 37% forced to deny children certain back to school items because they cannot afford them

Well over a third (37%) of parents in Northern Ireland say they are getting into debt to cover the expense of back-to-school costs. Parents of primary school children are, on average, in debt of £252 due to funding school costs. For secondary school parents, the average debt reported is £291. The findings were revealed in a Northern Ireland school-costs survey commissioned by the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU).

More than three quarters of parents (76%) in the national study say back-to-school costs are a financial burden. Half say that costs are their biggest back-to-school related worry, well ahead of concern that children won’t settle or make friends (13%).  A substantial six in ten parents at primary school level and eight in ten parents at secondary school level reported feeling pressurised to buy branded goods and items for their children.

37% of parents say they will be forced to deny their children certain school items because they cannot afford them. Of this group, almost a third say they cannot afford new school shoes for their children, while four in ten say extracurricular activities will have to be cut from the budget.

In general, well over a third of parents (37%) say they will have to sacrifice spending on family holidays to meet school costs. 20% say they will cut spending on household bills and 18% say spending on food will have to suffer.

Parents are spending £754 per primary-school child. For secondary school-children, the cost per child stands at £1,160. The biggest spend for primary school children is on after-school care at £114 per child, followed by uniforms at £112 and school lunches at £102. For secondary-school, the most expensive item was school trips at £220, followed by uniforms at £168 and school lunches at £158. (See figure 1 below for more detail).

Of concern is the finding that of those parents in debt, well over a third (38%) say they have turned to a doorstep lender/payday loan company in an effort to cope with back-to-school costs. Of this group, almost a quarter (24%) say they have borrowed between £400 and £500.

When asked why their preferred option was a moneylender, almost half of this group (48%) said they felt they had no other option as they have a bad credit history. 29% felt they would be guaranteed the money, as they felt the approval process in banks and credit unions would be more difficult. Of concern also is the fact that just over three quarters of this group said they will use a moneylender again this year to cover the back-to-school spend.

Commenting on these findings, Paul Bailey, ILCU Head of Marketing and Communications, said: “Despite the current recovery of our economy, families continue to struggle to cope with the cost of sending their children to school. We are seeing increasing numbers of parents saying they are in debt, and a rise in the numbers saying they are turning to doorstep lenders and payday loan companies. I would really encourage these parents to talk to their local credit union even where they feel they have a poor credit history. Our welcoming staff are on-hand to give guidance on household budgeting and financial planning.”

Mr Bailey continued “Using doorstep lenders and payday loan companies, many of whom charge exorbitant interest rates, will lead to a recurring cycle of unnecessary debt and irrational borrowing, and we would seriously urge parents to reconsider going this route. Credit unions are responsible lenders who will ensure that their members do not borrow beyond their means and will work with them so that repayments are realistic for their circumstances.”

62% of parents say that Northern Ireland schools are not doing enough to keep costs down. When asked how schools could do more to help parents, more than a quarter said the option of generic, cheaper or even free school uniforms. 16% said reducing the prices of books and stationary.

Annual Survey 2018

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Click the following link to enter our survey for your chance to win!

Entry closes Monday 16th July 2018 @ 11.59pm. 
Winner announced after Wednesday 18th July 2018 (Lucky for some!)


Thinking of buying a new car in the coming months? Then you’ve no doubt heard about Hire Purchase (HP) and Personal Contract Plans (PCPs) when researching your car finance options. These motor finance agreements have grown in popularity, with PCPs becoming particularly widespread according to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It estimates that PCPs accounted for around 66% of the value of new and used car lending in 2017. This compares with 34% in 2008.

There is concern however about these types of point-of-sale agreements. The FCA is currently investigating HPs and PCPs and, recently released an update on their study. This raises concerns that that not all consumers fully understand what they might be signing up for. In some cases, the report says relevant information is spread across multiple documents which may make it difficult for consumers to absorb key information. The FCA has not yet investigated whether consumers’ ability to repay is being adequately assessed - but intends to do so in the coming months.*

Speaking about motor finance agreements Bannvale Credit Union said “For many, headline rates on HP or PCP agreements can at first look more attractive, but these can easily distract from the range of additional charges and a good deal of inflexibility. Essentially these finance options are lease schemes. The buyer has in effect, hired the car for a particular period of time while they make payments. There are other issues to take into consideration also, such as the balloon payment at the end of a PCP agreement which has to be paid before the consumer can own the car outright. With a traditional car loan, the person simply borrows the money to pay for a car, which they own immediately. They can also sell the car on at any time they wish, should they need to, whereas they do not have this option with these lease agreements.”

There is further detail in the ‘small print’ of motor finance agreement which consumers should be aware of. With a PCP for example, they will need to be conscious of the mileage they are clocking up. This is because the balloon payment at the end of the agreement will have been calculated with their annual mileage in mind. If on the other hand a consumer takes out a car loan before purchasing a car, they are effectively going as a cash buyer to the car dealer and are in a far better position to negotiate a deal.

At Bannvale Credit Union we offer a car loan with an APR rate of 7.9%** which is typically approved within 2 days. There are no hidden fees or administration charges with our loan, and we are always happy to work with our members to arrange repayments in a way that best suits their individual circumstances. We would really encourage anyone thinking of buying a new or used car in the coming weeks to contact us at Bannvale Credit Union before making any decisions. We are happy to see all our members, no matter how long it has been, and of course we are always happy to chat to anyone who has never been a credit union member.”

*FCA; Our Work on Motor Finance – Update. March 2018

** For a £7,500,  4 years variable interest rate loan with 47 monthly repayments of £181.84, an interest Rate of 7.62%, a representative APR of 7.9%, the total amount payable by the member is £ £8728.18, information correct as at 03/05/2018


For further information, please contact us on (028) 2582 1001