Tag Archives: Scotland

Local banking still very much alive in Scotland

ABCUL Scotland dev stage03Following the sad news that Airdrie Savings Bank is to close, the Association of British Credit Unions Limited (ABCUL) has pointed to Scotland’s thriving credit union sector as evidence that local banking is still very much alive and well.

ABCUL Chief Executive Mark Lyonette said: “Across Scotland, almost 100 credit unions are providing savings accounts and affordable loans to more than 387,000 people. Last year, the sector’s deposits, lending and assets all grew by 8%, and Scotland has the fourth highest level of credit union membership in Europe.

“Of course, credit unions must keep pace with what consumers expect from their financial service providers, which increasingly means instant access and control of our money via mobile devices.

“For smaller players like credit unions, the infrastructure to deliver this is often out of reach unless we act together to achieve the required scale. That’s why a number of credit unions in Scotland and across Britain are working co-operatively to develop and deliver the products, services and access channels that modern consumers expect.

“This way, credit unions can ensure a competitive, sustainable local banking option is always open to Scottish consumers as part of a healthy, diverse financial services sector.”

The latest figures from the Bank of England (as at 30 June 2016) show there are 99 credit unions in Scotland serving more than 387,000 people, including 56,000 junior savers. Credit union members have savings worth £484 million and are borrowing £296 million, often at lower interest rates than are available for the same loan from other lenders. The Scottish credit union sector’s assets are worth £562 million.

With 7.2% of the Scottish population using a credit union, Scotland has the fourth highest level of credit union membership in Europe, after only the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Poland.

Scottish Government backs call for workplace savings

ABCUL Scotland logo ABCUL – the Association of British Credit Unions Limited – has welcomed the Scottish Government’s backing in its campaign to make access to credit union savings and loans a standard workplace benefit.

A new report – “Scotland’s Credit Unions: Investing in our Future” – published on 10 February outlines the Scottish Government’s support for making payroll deduction partnerships between employers and credit unions as popular in Scotland as it is in other countries like the United States.

ABCUL Chief Executive Mark Lyonette said: “It’s no coincidence that the world’s most successful credit union movements have close links with employers, making saving and repaying affordable loans really easy for people via payroll deduction.

“We’re delighted that the Scottish Government has responded to our call to make access to credit unions a standard workplace benefit, and we look forward to Scotland becoming a Credit Union Nation where employees, businesses and the wider economy all benefit from a more financially healthy population.”

The First Minister of Scotland Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon MSP has written a letter to employers highlighting the benefits of working with credit unions.

Nicola Sturgeon writes: “The Scottish Government recognises the valuable role played by credit unions in building financial health by providing financial services and products to a wide range of customers.

“So I am urging employers across Scotland to get in touch with a credit union to explore establishing a payroll deduction relationship with a view to improving financial health and boosting the productivity of Scotland’s businesses.”

There are over 100 credit unions in Scotland serving 375,000 people who are saving £454 million and borrowing £276 million.

The Scottish Government report can be read here: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2016/02/4045/0


Credit unions welcome new bankruptcy legislation in Scotland

ABCUL – the AssoABCUL logociation of British Credit Unions – has welcomed the passing of the Bankruptcy and Debt Advice (Scotland) Bill in the Scottish Parliament today (20 March).

The Bill – which aims to deliver a debt advice, debt management and debt relief service which is fairer to creditors and debtors alike – was passed with cross-party support at the end of a long process of consultation which Scotland’s credit unions have closely engaged with throughout.

Credit unions particularly welcome the adoption of a single common financial tool to calculate debtors’ contributions, the extension of money advice and financial education, and measures to curb the potential for unfair and inappropriate use of debt relief products.

The creation of a Financial Health Service to support people with debt problems and build financial capability across the country more widely has also been welcomed by Scotland’s credit unions.

ABCUL Scotland Policy and Relations Manager Frank McKillop said: “A credit union loan comes from other people’s savings, so the principle that people who can repay do repay is especially important to credit unions.

“We welcome the measures in this Bill which should ensure a fairer deal for creditors like credit unions, and we look forward to working with the new Financial Health Service to play our part as a safe place to save and an ethical source of affordable loans to help people from all walks of life keep in control of their finances.”