CLARE ADAMSON PRAISES BENEFITS OF CREDIT UNIONS TO LOCAL COMMUNITIES
SNP MSP for Motherwell and Wishaw, Clare Adamson, spoke in the Scottish Parliament on a debate entitled: ‘Celebrating International Credit Union Day 2016’, on Wednesday, 9th November 2016.
The debate, secured by Ruth Maguire, SNP MSP for Cunninghame South, recognised that 20 October 2016 is International Credit Union Day which has taken place every year since 1948, and recognised the important role that is played by these not-for-profit financial cooperatives in providing effective and affordable financial services to communities such as Motherwell & Wishaw.
Clare Adamson, who is a member of a credit union herself, said:
“I am really glad that the Scottish Government is giving about £200,000 of funding to support credit unions in establishing schemes in schools and helping children to understand the importance of saving and managing money. That is vital work in our communities, especially as it is often the most vulnerable people, who find it most difficult to balance their cheque book, who can get the greatest advantages from a credit union in their community.
I also want to highlight the Scottish League of Credit Unions, which works closely with one of my local credit unions: Wishaw Credit Union. The strength of the league is that it supports community-focused credit unions whatever stage of development they are at. It recognises and respects the different needs and aspirations of individual credit unions and will not seek to impose a particular model on its members.
Credit unions are now financially secure: the financial services compensation scheme is associated with them and they are covered by the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority. That security is important, not just because payday lenders prey on people in difficult situations. I remember the collapse of the Farepak savings scheme. Although a banking technicality meant that people who had paid into the scheme by direct debit were able to recover some of their money, many people lost money that they thought was safe. It is important that people know about the financial security of credit unions.
However, the new approach places a burden on volunteers, who have to know financial regulation and take part in modular training schemes from the Chartered Banker Institute. Members’ money is used to train volunteers, and that is a concern, because we want credit unions to continue to be sustainable and to provide a wonderful service in our communities. That is another reason why it is so important for credit unions to engage with our young people. We need young people to come on board and fulfil that role as well.”
Date: 11th November 2016