Wednesday 9th November saw local SNP MSP Ruth Maguire lead a Holyrood debate marking International Credit Union Day 2016 and the important role played by credit unions in tackling poverty and empowering local communities.

Speaking, Ruth said:

“As well as providing affordable loans with fairer conditions and longer repayment terms than payday lenders, credit unions also empower communities and encourage individual entrepreneurship. Indeed, they are often termed ‘community banks’, a description which well reflects their nature and purpose”

Ruth applauded the strong and growing credit union presence in Scotland, with around 100 credit unions and a combined membership of over 387,000, noting the marked increase in junior members in recent years.

Ruth praised the work of local Kilwinning-based credit union, 1st Alliance, drawing attention in particular to how it is stepping up to the challenges presented by welform reform in partnering with six social landlords to help those in arrears or facing eviction, as well as assisting people with budgeting as welfare payments change from fortnightly to monthly, for example.

Commenting, Ann Robertson MBE, Director of 1st Alliance, said:

“It was great to hear such cross-party support for credit unions being debated in the Chamber.  Our thanks go to Ruth Maguire MSP for setting the question”.