ABCUL has published its key policy asks to all Members elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2021 to support Credit Unions in Scotland. Collating the views of ABCUL members, in terms of policy asks for Parliamentary elections in May, it has listed five key areas that Government can support the movement:
Making saving and repaying loans via payroll deduction a standard workplace benefit for people across Scotland.
It has been evidenced that payroll deduction is an effective method of incentivising people to repay loans and build personal savings. A step towards making this practice commonplace in Scotland would be to encourage all Public Bodies and procured organisations to offer their employees payroll deduction, through partnerships with credit unions.
Supporting the growing need for reform of the current insolvency regulations.
The current insolvency regulations for Scotland result in many debtors entering unsuitable debt solutions. We ask for reform to create insolvency options for debtors that are tailored to the needs of debtors, whilst remaining fair to all parties involved in a debt solution.
Supporting credit unions to improve their digital offering.
Much of the credit union sector is in need of digital transformation, to keep up with technological change and reach a wider audience. However, many credit unions would require financial and logistical support to undergo the technological changes needed to remain relevant.
Promoting credit unions as an ethical, affordable financial service for everyone, from all walks of life.
For the Scottish population to widely benefit from the use of affordable financial services, there must be a greater awareness of the credit union sector. We ask that credit unions are brought onto Scottish Parliament’s agenda and actively promoted by MSPs as providers of fair financial services for everyone.
Creating an environment where credit unions can play a key delivery role in Community Wealth Building Initiatives across Scotland.
Credit unions can meaningfully contribute to wealth building within communities, by leading on financial inclusivity and providing affordable financial products on a local basis. In order to utilise credit unions potential for Community Wealth Building Initiatives, we ask the Scottish Government to encourage local councils to promote and utilise the credit union services in their local area.
Commenting on the Association’s policy asks, Head of Policy, Risk and Compliance at ABCUL, Natalie McQuade said: “We urge all Members elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2021 to support credit unions in Scotland and acknowledge the important role credit unions can play in policy solutions.
"Scotland leads the way in Great Britain for levels of credit union membership. Over 7% of Scotland's population are members of a credit union with over £650m in savings. Glasgow having the largest membership of any British city where 1 in 4 citizens belong to a credit union.
"The Scottish Government has been a great supporter of credit unions for many years and we will be delighted to see it continue its support for the role of credit unions to provide access to affordable and ethical financial services."