On Tuesday 13th June, SNP MSP for Cunninghame South, Ruth Maguire, welcomed visitors from Georgia Credit Union Affiliates in the USA to the Scottish Parliament.

Ruth, who is the convenor of Holyrood’s Cross Party Group on Credit Unions, chaired an event entitled “What can we learn from credit union partners in the USA?” – where the credit union sector serves over 45% of the economically active population.

For the past year, a number of Scottish credit unions have been part of a unique partnership with credit unions from Georgia Credit Union Affiliates in the USA, focused on learning and sharing new ideas.  In October, a number of representatives from Scotland visited Georgia, and the representatives of Georgian credit unions visited Scotland this month as part of the return trip.

During the event, MSPs, members of the Cross Party Group, and visitors heard from Eric Broome, Senior Vice President of Georgia’s Own Credit Union.

A Scottish perspective was then offered from Robert Kelly, CEO, NHS Credit Union, before the meeting opened out into a discussion.

Commenting, Ruth said:

“I am hugely grateful to the representatives of Georgia Credit Union Affiliates for taking the time to share their experience and perspectives of the credit union sector.

The strength of credit unions in the USA means that there is a lot to be learned through partnership and collaboration.

Georgia credit unions have a long history of international co-operation, having worked with Polish credit unions for more than two decades – and I look forward to a similarly successful partnership between Scottish and Georgian credit unions as we go forward.”

Carol McHarg, Chief Executive of the Kilwinning based 1st Alliance (Ayrshire) Credit Union, added:

“My sincere thanks to the Cross Party Group on Credit Unions for hosting the meeting.  It was really interesting and encouraging to hear about the growth and development of Georgia Affiliates. It was also pleasing to see that they share some of the same issues faced by us as British Credit Unions.”