Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell has joined calls to make Scotland a Credit Union Nation.
Michael Russell MSP was lending his support to the Credit Union Charter, which the Association of British Credit Unions Limited (ABCUL) has launched outlining the key ways the Scottish Parliament can help improve the nation’s financial health by supporting credit unions.
Credit unions are financial services providers locally owned and democratically controlled by the people who use them. They do not have any external shareholders or investors looking to generate profits from them.
The Credit Union Charter calls for employers to make saving and repaying loans via payroll deduction a standard workplace benefit for people across Scotland, and for every school in the country to have a credit union champion to help pupils learn about saving and budgeting.
Commenting he said: “I’m delighted to support ABCUL’s Credit Union Charter. Encouraging regular saving and responsible borrowing is a key way to build financial health, and credit unions play a vital role in Argyll and Bute in helping people get – and stay – on top of their finances.
“Research has shown that money worries and debt problems can lead to ill health, absence from work and low productivity. So educating young people about money and making it easy for adults to save and borrow with a credit union via their employer can help save public funds and boost the Scottish economy.”
ABCUL Scotland Policy Officer Karen Hurst said: “It’s no coincidence that the most successful credit union movements around the world have established close links with employers to help people build up savings and access affordable credit when they need to.
“We’re delighted to have the support of Michael Russell MSP for our campaign to make Scotland a Credit Union Nation – something that would benefit the whole country.”
Scotland has just over 100 credit unions serving more than 375,000 people – including 52,000 junior savers – who are saving £454 million and borrowing £276 million. Everyone in Scotland has a credit union they can join, and with 7 per cent 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).