As a multitude of pay day loan firms continue to set up it has fallen on a forward-thinking, old-fashioned concept to provide an alternative.
Falkirk District Credit Union formed in 2006 and anyone living or working in the Falkirk area is eligible to join.
According to director and secretary Malcolm Richards (75) you do not have to be a financial genius to see the benefits of the credit union.
He said: “Our slogan is ‘Members Matter Most’ because our members are all shareholders within the credit union.
“When they put their money in they are able to gain access to affordable loans at attractive rates of interest.
“It’s an old-fashioned idea based on the co-operatives of the past, but it’s the sensible alternative to all these pay day loan businesses which have sprung up in recent years.”
Banks and other profit-driven companies have the main goal of making piles of cash for their shareholders, but any credit union’s earnings in excess of operational costs are returned to members in the form of increased interest in savings and decreased rates on loans.
So, in effect, the more people who join the better things will get for members.
Mr Richards said: “I tell people that when they invest in the Credit Union their £1 becomes worth £1.50. The actual value of their account is what they have in it plus 50 per cent extra.
“So your £1000 becomes £1500 and so on. If I died tomorrow that’s what my dependents would get. And if I’d taken out a loan with the Credit Union, the balance would be paid off - as long as I was up to date with my repayments at the time.
“Say it was a £1000 loan and I had only paid back my first £50 instalment, if I died the £950 balance would be paid off.
“All we ask is that a member must invest with us for eight weeks before they are able to take out a loan with us.
“That let’s us see if they are trustworthy.”
Call (01324) 473695 or visit www.falkirkcredit union.co.uk for more information.