The Credit Union was formed on 7th August 1991 as the “Northamptonshire Postal Workers Credit Union”. It was open to any employee of Royal Mail specifically working in the NN postcode area.
Then East Midlands Postal Workers Credit Union and in April 2020, Northamptonshire Credit Union (trading as Harvest Money) merged with Commsave.
The original office was based within the Northampton Mail Centre, where the volunteer directors squeezed in to process loan applications once a week. Still based in the Northampton, word had spread beyond county lines, so the common bond was extended to neighbouring post codes, giving more employees the chance to benefit from access to a credit union. By the end of August 1995 membership stood at 583 with savings of £354,000 and loans of £283,000. On 22 November 1996 the ‘common bond’ was extended to cover Royal Mail employees in Coventry (CV), Derbyshire (DE), Leicester (LE) and Nottingham (NG) postcode areas.
At the AGM in 2002 it was agreed that an application should be made to change the name to Commsave Credit Union. This change was made in order to prepare the way to expand in to other geographic areas, and with the potential to serve employees of the Communications Industry. Following a disastrous fire on 7 September 2003 which destroyed Northampton Mail Centre, and a period in rented accommodation, Commsave purchased their own offices at 6 Duncan Close, Moulton Park, Northampton, in June 2004.
In 2005 following an application to the Financial Services Authority Commsave’s ‘common bond’ was extended to cover Royal Mail Group employees in the East of England. In order to help member’s families save the Stamper Account for under 16’s was introduced in March 2007. The purchase of the premises, with plenty of space to expand was completed in 2007. The ‘common bond’ was further extended in January 2008 to cover all Royal Mail Group employees who work in England.
In 2011, to allow for a cohesive marketing strategy, the common bond was increased once more to encompass the whole of the UK. As the membership grew so did the range of products offered. Members had a range of specific accounts as follows, Christmas Savings, Last Day retirement day account, revolving credit and the holiday savings account.
To help provide employment and training for local young people, in 2011 it was decided to introduce an apprenticeship scheme in the areas of customer service and financial services. To date 9 young people have completed their apprenticeships with Commsave, gaining various qualifications such as Customer Service and Business Administration, and they are all encouraged to continue to advance their professional qualifications with full support of the credit union.
Commsave launched a Blue Acorn ISA (Individual Savings Account) in 2012. This account enables members to benefit from a government tax-free dividend arrangement.By the end of September 2014 the savings and loans had both grown by more than 200%, opening up a variety of opportunities for the coming years.
Despite the pressures of the financial climate, by ensuring that member’s needs are at the heart of strategic decision making, Commsave Credit Union has continued to grow in both size and strength, seen significant growth up to 2016. Commsave Credit Union serves 17,000 members who work in the communications industry across Britain and are saving £27 million and borrowing £24 million from their credit union. Commsave has assets worth £35 million.
During 2017 after reading the feedback from the IPOS MORI survey in which credit union borrowing members were asked about their lending experience and after sales care, the credit union was awarded the Fairbanking Foundation Mark clearly demonstrating the benefits of having access to a Save as you Borrow model (SAYB), which improves the financial wellbeing of members.
Reported in 2018 at a conference Tampa USA that since the founding of the three British postal credit unions: 1st Class Credit Union, Commsave and Penny Post Credit Union, they have grown to serve over 38000 members and that over the last 5 years, the Royal Mail Group partners have successfully returned £4.2 million of dividends to members, issued over £162 million in loans and members have deposited over £352 million in savings.
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