A touching tribute was paid to ‘Mr Credit Union’ as Pennine Community Credit Union account holders gathered for their annual general meeting.
Mr Lou Gildea, who founded Nelson Community Credit Union as it was then known then, died at the age of 83 in December. His wife, Mary, died last month.
PCCU President Gerard Spain praised the much-loved couple for leaving a “wonderful legacy”.
“Lou and Mary will never be forgotten, without them we would not be here. They did all the difficult work in getting the Credit Union up and running, we will try and make them proud by continuing their wonderful legacy.”
The evening paid host to dignitaries from the borough, including Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson and the Mayor of Pendle, Coun. David Whalley who both delivered powerful speeches about the positive impact the Credit Union has on the local community.
Andrew Stephenson highlighted the communities need for financial institutes on the high street with the banks and building societies vacating, praising PCCU for its commitment to their account holders for having three town centre branches.
“PCCU is a real jewel in the crown of the local area and a credit to Pendle and the wider East Lancashire area,” he said.
The AGM was attended by more than 90 account holders, who heard that more people from the Pendle and Burnley communities had used the ethical savings accounts and borrowed at affordable rates.
Savings levels had continued to buck national trends, increasing by 14% and the number of local residents who had taken advantage of the borrowing services had increased by 25%.
Mr Spain reported that PCCU had another year of self-sufficiency and thanked account holders for their continued support.
Looking to the future he outlined plans to improve the IT platform which allows account holders to look at balances, request withdrawals and complete loan applications online at a time best suited to them.
PCCU also confirmed its intention to introduce the Credit Union’s payroll deduction scheme to more local businesses to help employees save, borrow and manage their money directly from their wages.
The Credit Union decided a dividend rate of 0.75% on savings; a figure pointed out to be well above the UK average instant access savings rate of 0.19%.
An annual charitable donation, totalling £500, was made to Pendleside Hospice - a charity close to Lou and Mary’s hearts. Representative Florence Fisher thanked the Credit Union, telling members: “It costs £4m. per year to keep the Hospice running and the Government provide around 25%.
“The rest of the money needs to be raised through fundraising and donations.”