Credit Unions give credit and deserve credit for their community based services.
The Credit Union is a financial co-operative, owned by the members and run by volunteers, providing safe and ethical savings accounts and secure, affordable loans for members.
Falkirk District Credit Union, which has 50 volunteers, opened a branch at Falkirk Council’s Bo’ness One Stop Shop in East Pier Street, three years ago, which is open every Tuesday between 10am and noon. This was the initiative of Madelene Hunt and Jean Scobbie.
David Eadie who has been a volunteer since 1996 and is now chairman of the board and management committee would like to see more people in the Bo’ness area opening accounts.
Membership is open to everyone who lives in the area; all it takes is £2 and two forms of identification and this opens the door to a whole range of financial services and advice.
David explained: “After eight weeks, when a savings pattern is established, a client can apply for a loan and our rates are really good compared to high street lenders.
‘‘Someone who has £100 in their account, can borrow £300 and pay this back at £8.11 per week. We ensure that a loan is suited to individual needs.
“We have pay point cards, payroll deductions, and we hope to establish a new computer system which will allow us to take benefits and make payments for our customers.”
Jam Jar accounts have proved invaluable since the recent welfare reform legislation which means housing benefit is no longer being paid direct to landlords.
Members are not confined to people on restricted income as is often perceived; people join because of the services.
There are also junior savings accounts for people under 16 years old - it’s never too early to be part of the savings culture!