Forward to Normal

Monday 17th Aug, 2020

Beginning the recovery

I've never been entirely comfortable when people talk to me about getting "back to normal". To me, it implies going backwards, returning to something that used to be, trying to recreate something that doesn't exist anymore. I know others feel the same way and that's why I was interested in a recent meeting to hear someone use the phrase "forward to normal".  It's an awkward, clunky phrase which will never catch on, but the speaker was trying to emphasise that as lockdown is slowly lifted and we can do more things, that we should ensure that we use the opportunities to move forwards, not backwards.

So it is with the Credit Union, where lockdown acted as the catalyst for our technological transformation plans through the introdcution of technology that opens up Credit Union access to BAE Systems people from Portsmouth to Lossiemouth and all across the UK and puts it in the palm of your hands. Some recent comments on our social media have come from people who say they have worked for BAE Systems for many years and have never heard of us, nor has anyone in their department. I take some comfort in those comments, because they tell me our message is now reaching a new audience and that they are talking about us to others in their department, just as I have been asking you to do.

We know from our own experience and that of other credit unions, that word of mouth amongst colleagues is the single biggest reason for new members to join us. That's why we will keep asking our existing members to be proud members of the Credit Union and to talk to your colleagues about the benefits of not-for-profit financial services, wholly owned by BAE Systems people past and present.

£1.5 Million payout

Despite our physical offices still being closed for now, since lockdown began we have paid out £1.5 Million in savings and loans to our members to get them through these difficult months. Now, as lockdown starts to lift and people start to look towards holidays, weddings, new cars or staying at home to complete those summer home improvement plans, the Credit Union will make millions more available to help with the financing from your savings or through affordable credit operated directly through payroll.

For those who have struggled or continue to struggle, building your savings buffer through payroll deductions is an ideal way to get yourselves back onto a  firm financial footing and for those with their eyes on the high street banks' plummenting returns on instant access accounts, they have very little to lose and potentially have dividends to gain by starting with a regular Credit Union savings account.

Over the coming years we plan to continue to go forward. To bring on new products and services and to improve our technology to ensure that we can bring the Credit Union to you all efficiently and effectively. We don't have to concern ourselves with making profits for external shareholders, because there aren't any. We exist solely for the service of our members and it shows in some of the feedback we have had.

I hope that you agree and that you will stay with us, and bring your colleagues on the journey as we go forward to normal.

Best wishes and stay safe.


Mike Barry
First Rate Credit Union

 “Service I have received to date has been above that than expected. It is also of a much higher calibre than received by most banks/building societies in the market.”

“The scheme seems to work well for savers and borrowers alike without the prospect of Member’s money being used to support senior figures and shareholders.”

“An easy way to accumulate some funds for a rainy day. Taken from your wage at source so is not missed.”

“It is easy to sort out a loan, and I don’t even think about paying for it because it comes out of my wages before I get them.”

“I always recommend FRCU to my colleagues, it’s an easy friendly service that I will use for years to come.”







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