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Scotland’s credit unions “phenomenal”

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09 Dec 16

Delegates at Scotland’s Credit Union Conference have heard the movement’s scale described as “phenomenal”.

The glowing endorsement came from the Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities Angela Constance MSP as she reflected on the growth of Scotland’s credit union sector and its achievements to date.

Angela Constance MSP added: “Credit unions make a huge contribution to our society and provide vital financial services to people from all walks of life. This Government will continue to work with the sector to support its work and raise the profile of the credit union movement. The current picture in Scotland is encouraging, but there is still tremendous scope to grow and embed the movement and really build a credit union nation.”

The Scottish Government Minister was one of a range of expert speakers who addressed well over 100 delegates at the annual event at Glasgow’s Marriott Hotel, which is organised by ABCUL and supported by CUNA Mutual.

Journalist and broadcaster Fergus Muirhead facilitated a thought-provoking session on how credit unions can improve the financial health of Scotland’s workforce, with contributions from Money Advice Scotland Chief Executive Yvonne MacDermid OBE, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Director of Human Resources & Organisational Development Anne MacPherson, and Money and Mental Health Head of Research and Policy Katie Evans.

Delegates later heard Lloyds Banking Group’s Education and Financial Education Lead David Rowsell and the journalist and author of Spare Change Iona Bain speak about what the next generation of consumers need and are looking for from financial services. ABCUL Chief Executive Mark Lyonette and CUNA Mutual Europe Chief Executive Paul J Walsh made the case for how credit unions can meet the needs and expectations of young people.

Workshops explored the role of credit unions in building a Fairer Scotland, what does and doesn’t work in credit union partnerships with schools, and how Scotland’s councils can back sustainable growth of their local credit unions.

ABCUL Chief Executive Mark Lyonette said: “Scotland is rightly proud of its thriving credit union movement, and it has been hugely encouraging to see the Scottish Government and a wide range of stakeholders come together at our conference to explore how we go forward to make Scotland a credit union nation.”

Scotland’s credit unions serve more than 387,000 members (including over 56,000 junior savers) who are saving £484 million and borrowing £296 million with their credit unions. With more than 7% of the 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.

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