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Scottish Parliament committee calls for steps to grow credit unions

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06 Jul 18

The Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee this week published a new report on the impact of bank branch closures and, within in, supported calls from ABCUL for more freedom for credit unions to serve their members.

The committee last month held a session looking at the ways in which credit unions could help those impacted by bank branch closures, where evidence was given by Karen Hurst, ABCUL’s Scotland Policy Officer, Gordon Buchanan, of Castle Community Bank. They also heard from a representative of the Post Office about their proposals to offer credit union services through their network.

Following the session, the committee published a number of recommendations, including:

  • Asking the UK Government to consider amending the Credit Union Act to allow credit unions to offer a wider range of services and to address the limitations it places on them.
  • Asking the Scottish and UK Governments to consider how credit unions can be supported financially to expand their range of services, including improving their digital infrastructure.
  • Asking banks to consider limiting charges on credit unions for using their services. The Committee believes that this would demonstrate corporate social responsibility on the part of the banks and would help to develop alternative options for their customers.

Karen Hurst, of ABCUL welcomed the recommendations: “The idea that credit unions can provide a replacement like-for-like service is a challenge for the sector, but it great that the committee was willing to see beyond the short term challenges and recognise that it is important to support the sector in its ambition to be as relevant as possible to its current and future members. The bank branch closures – and the impact this has had on many communities - has demonstrated why it is important to have a diverse financial services sector, and credit unions are an important player in that”.


 

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