Credit union to make saving ‘more accessible’

PLANS for a credit union in Carrick are progressing at some speed, with interested individuals invited to hear more at the next meeting of Girvan’s Town Team.

When the Town Team was formed the intention was to help make various projects happen in Girvan, which would make life better for the local inhabitants.

At one of the early meetings, it was suggested that having a credit union – which had been suggested several years before but not implemented – might be revisited, and South Ayr-shire Council’s community engagement manager, Gus Collins, has set the wheels in motion.

Mr Collins has arranged for Craig Potter of First Alliance credit union – which is Kilwinning-based but already operates across Ayrshire – to speak at the next meeting of the Town Team on Thursday, August 16. If a further meeting would be helpful, this could be arranged then.

It having been generally agreed that expanding an existing credit union to include Carrick would be easier and perhaps more beneficial than beginning a very localised union, it is expected that the “common bond” required to join will simply be that one lives or works in Ayrshire.

Members of a credit union are encouraged to save and this money is then loaned to other members at a rate of no more than two percent per month on a reducing balance.

Anyone who has looked at the small print on payday loans – some of which are regularly advertising on television – will recognise how much less this is than the interest that they are currently charging.

Because credit unions are members of the Financial Services Compensation Fund 
it means that in the unlikely event of a credit union failing, then members’ money is protected.

Unlike banks, there are also no outside share­holders, meaning that all the benefits go to members, while members also have a say in how they are run.

You can sign up for three different accounts – a Share Account, a Christmas Savings Club and a Summer Savings Club.

Under-16s are also encouraged to belong, as there is a Junior Savings Account especially for them.

Mr Potter said that belonging to a credit union would hopefully “make banking accessible to more people”, especially at a time when some people are struggling to get access to a bank account.

Credit unions are there, he said, so that people can “save and borrow responsibly”.

The next Town Team meeting will be held at 6.30pm in the Carrick Buildings on Girvan’s Henri­etta Street.

Suggestions and concerns can be passed on in writing by those who want to attend but do not wish to speak.