Who are Castle & Crystal?
Castle & Crystal is a credit union based in Dudley and membership is open to anyone who lives or works in the borough. It offers a competitive rate of interest on savings, paying dividends (interest) to its members. It is a mutual organisation that operates on a not-for-profit basis.
Castle & Crystal was established in September 1993, initially for the benefit of employees of Dudley Council. In 2002 it moved to become a borough wide service.
What is a credit union?
A credit union is a financial co-operative owned and controlled by its members for the benefit of its members. They are a great alternative to both high-street and doorstep lenders. By saving with a credit union you know that you are part of a community and that you are contributing to a scheme that values and pays back its members.
Castle & Crystal is run by staff and volunteers and managed by a board of voluntary directors, elected by members. Credit unions are democratic organisations, each member is valued equally whether saving £2 a week or £200. Everybody who saves in the credit union has a say in how it is run.
What savings accounts are on offer?
Castle & Crystal offers a range of saving schemes, all offering the same rate of interest and helping members to put their money aside for a specific purpose. They are:
Holiday – by making a small contribution every week or month, members can build up enough money over the year pay for a well-earned holiday or use it for spending money. A withdrawal can be made at any time.
Christmas - again, by paying a little each week, funds are set aside for when they are most needed so it doesn’t feel like Christmas has crept up on you. There is a date restriction on this scheme. Withdrawals can’t be made until after October 31. This is to prevent the temptation of dipping into it in advance of the festivities!
General – a useful way of setting up a savings account, which can be dipped into as and when needed, whether it’s for a new pair of school shoes, a birthday present car repairs. Or it can be left untouched as a nest egg for the future.
Junior savers – a great way to get children to understand how savings and investments work and appreciate the value of money. With so many different loan and credit arrangements available it is important to educate children so that they become money aware and less vulnerable to unscrupulous lenders. Accounts are held in the child’s name, however a parent or guardian acts as the trustee until the junior member reaches an age specified by the trustee (no older than 16) at which they become a full member. Loans are not available until they are 18 years old.
What about loans?
Castle & Crystal also offers safe, convenient and affordable loans. It is ideal for people who may only want to borrow small amounts of cash from time to time, to see them through Christmas, summer holidays or to pay for new school uniforms when September comes.
Each application is treated in the utmost confidence and will be considered on its own merits. It is Castle & Crystal policy to meet the borrowing requirements of as many members as possible, depending on their circumstances and demand.
Castle & Crystal is as flexible as possible when setting up repayment plans within certain legal limitations that apply to the length and amount of loans. The member will be advised on the best repayment plan to meet their own circumstances. There are no set up costs or penalties associated with clearing your loan quicker than agreed.
By law credit unions cannot charge any more than 2% per month on the reducing balance of a loan. Credit unions do not charge fees or transaction charges. Since the interest is charged only on the outstanding balance of the loan, you will pay even less if you repay in a shorter time than planned.
For further information or to join call 01384 815771, visit the Castle & Crystal website or drop into our main offices at 25 New Street, Dudley.
Our opening times are Monday to Thursday 9.30am to 4.30pm and Friday 9.30am to 4pm. We also have various community pay points around the borough. Click on the above link for further information. Two forms of identification are required to join.
Castle & Crystal is a non-profit making organisation. Regulated by the Financial Services Authority and the Credit Union Act 1979. Details of dividend payments and conditions for loan and life insurance cover are available from 25 New Street, Dudley.
Supported by Dudley Council and the European Regional Development Fund.