This week SCVO Credit Union hosted a special business breakfast which was attended by MSP and Convener for the Cross Party Group on credit unions, Ruth Maguire.
The aim of the event was to explore how the third sector organisations can enhance their benefits package by providing easy access to ethical financial services for their staff, trustees and volunteers. Speaking at the meeting was Ruth Maguire MSP who has been a loyal supporter of the sector over the years and pledged further support through the Scottish Government’s ‘People, not profit’ campaign and being the convener of the cross-party group on credit unions.
Last week in Scottish Parliament in a debate that underlined its support for the key role that credit unions play in communities, Ruth reiterated the importance of credit unions to speakers from all of the political parties. Ruth said: “Credit unions can be great for people who want to make an ethical choice about where they put their money.
“The role of credit unions in reducing poverty and the impact of financial worries is well recognised and has been described in reports by organisations such as the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Social Market Foundation. Owned and controlled by members, and with a membership that is based on a common bond, credit unions are underpinned by the co-operative ethos of people helping people.
“As well as providing affordable loans, with fairer conditions and longer repayment terms than payday lenders, credit unions empower communities and encourage individual entrepreneurship; they are often termed “community banks”, which is a description that reflects their nature and purpose”.
Reflecting on the business meeting, Tom McVay, Manager of SCVO Credit Union said: “From the early feedback with new business links developed and current relationships strengthened, we believe our business breakfast meeting was very successful.
“Representatives of the third sector are now very much aware of how credit unions work and the importance payroll deduction can be as a staff benefit. It is now the credit unions intention to repeat these meetings throughout the rest of the year, especially as we hope to attract more third sector organisations take up our payroll deduction service”.
Commenting on SCVO’s efforts to provide a safer financial option for staff across Scotland, ABCUL’s Policy Officer for Scotland, Karen Hurst said: “For over 30 years, employers have used the services of credit unions in their workplace and have a proved track record of turning borrowers into savers.
“Scotland leads the way in Great Britain for levels of credit union membership with Glasgow having the largest membership of any British city where 1 in 4 citizens belong to a credit union. It’s great to see so many credit unions like SCVO actively promote its ethical financial services to organisations across the country.
“I thank Ruth Maguire and the Scottish Government for its continued support in previous years and the years to come. We are particularly delighted about the debate last week Parliament which celebrated the services of our sector”.