Scottish credit unions in a league of their own

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Local credit unions are being encouraged to join together under one banner as their popularity continues to grow.

Dermot O’Neill, chief executive of the Scottish League of Credit Unions (SLCU) hopes others will follow the example of Falkirk’s St Francis Xavier Credit Union, based in Hope Street, and sign up to the league. At the moment no other credit unions in the Falkirk area are associated with the SLCU.

He said: “As an organisation we act as an intermediary between credit unions and the government and offer training and advice to member credit unions. We represent small to medium credit unions, 
everything from 100 members to 25,000 members.”

Last year a Financial Services Authority report revealed the credit union sector had exceeded one million members in the UK. Dermot believes this rise in popularity is directly related to people’s growing mistrust of banks.

He said: “After the near collapse of the banks a few years ago people just felt scunnered. Organisations they trusted let them down. They looked for alternatives and credit unions, which have been around since the 1970s, became popular again.”

Stephen Sweeney is chairman of St Francis Xavier Credit Union and also chairman of the SLCU. Like Dermot he hopes more local credit unions associate themselves with the league.

He said: “The league can act as a network and help credit unions across the county stay in touch with each other because the problems we face and the challenges we encounter are all quite similar.”