Guest blog: Changing the way people think about saving... by not having to think at all

Glasgow Credit Union’s innovative Employer Partner scheme is disrupting the traditional savings narrative. 
Originally published in BSA Society Matters magazine.

By Paul Rytel, Business Development Executive, Glasgow Credit UnionSM53.png

Originally published in BSA Society Matters magazine.

Glasgow Credit Union’s innovative Employer Partner scheme is disrupting the traditional savings narrative. 

At a time when most families are feeling the pinch of rising energy and food prices, it’s getting increasingly harder to encourage members to save regularly. After bills have been paid, shopping bought and living expenses accounted for, there’s often nothing left to go into the savings pot at the end of the month.

But what if the savings pot was the first thing that got added to, every payday, before all the other expenses took their share? This is exactly what our Employer Partner scheme makes it possible for employees to do.

We work with over 100 employers throughout Glasgow to offer their employees access to our products directly via salary contribution. This scheme effectively removes the barriers to saving by providing a mechanism that lets employees save directly from their wages, every time they’re paid.

We’re celebrating our 30th anniversary this year and have been offering payroll deduction right from day one, so we’ve refined the process down to a fine art. Members join and choose how much they want to save each payday (anything between £5 and £1,000 per month). Once their account is set-up, their chosen savings amount is automatically transferred into their credit union account, before they receive their salary.

In no time at all, the member gets used to living off their revised net pay and their savings start to build-up. Changing the way people think about saving – by not having to think about it at all special.

Members can change the amount they save and make withdrawals easily over the phone or online. We’re also working on an app that will make all transactions with us even easier. We carry out regular site visits to our Employer Partners to speak to new staff about joining and to touch base with existing members, and there’s one statement we hear from members more than any other: ‘It’s so easy, I don’t even realise I’m saving!’

Over 14,000 people save with us this way and the employers we work with range from companies employing less than 10 staff, to some of the largest employers in the city, such as Glasgow City Council.

The scheme benefits not just the employee, but also the employer – providing them with a free service to boost their employee benefits package, while potentially reducing the risk of absenteeism due to stress caused by personal finance worries.

Lorraine Gray, Group Operations Director of Pursuit Marketing, which is one of our Employer Partners explains: “The partnership offers our staff access to a great range of financial services including savings, loans and mortgages.

"For us, it’s a no-brainer solution to help and support the financial health of our staff. The seamless payroll repayments make it easy for staff to save and build a buffer for any unexpected expenses.”

Our list of Employer Partners is growing every month as more and more businesses are recognising the need to support the wellbeing of their staff. The scheme works well for all employees, but is especially beneficial for young members of staff, such as apprentices who can start a life-long savings journey with their very first pay packet.

By putting savings ahead of the spending process we’ve changed the way people think about saving – because they don’t need to think about it at all.

Read the Society Matters autumn 2019 edition here.