Scottish Parliament event on connecting credit unions and Scotland’s work force

March 13, 2019

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On Tuesday 12 March, the Carnegie UK Trust was hosted by Linda Fabiani MSP at an event in the Scottish Parliament to share learning from our Credit Union Consortium pilot with parliamentarians, employers and affordable credit stakeholders.

The Consortium is a credit union partnership comprised of 1st Alliance (Ayrshire) Credit Union, Castle Community Bank, East Kilbride Credit Union, Kingdom Community Bank and West Lothian Credit Union, and supported by the Trust. The consortium is working together to drive an increase in employer payroll deduction, which will help workers in Scotland benefit from credit union membership via their employer.

With in-work poverty on the rise and 1 in 4 households without any savings, there are significant positive outcomes to be gained if more employers can be encouraged to offer credit union membership to staff as a workplace benefit. Employers can support their staff to start saving or borrow affordably in a way which is hassle-free, directly from their wages. Staff can be supported to get and stay on top of their finances, reducing money-related stress, and contributing to higher levels of employee engagement, retention and productivity in the workplace. Over half of the UK working population (55%) report that money worries affect their ability to perform in their job, and it is believed that 1.5 million hours of work are lost annually due to staff absence caused by financial stress.

Recognising the benefits for employers and workers and of attracting new credit union members, last year the Credit Union Consortium hired a dedicated Employer Engagement Officer. The Employer Engagement Officer, Graeme Mullin, spoke last night about the successes and challenges of signing up new employers, while North Ayrshire Council explained why they offer payroll deduction, and the benefits they see this delivers for staff. The event also heard from Aileen Campbell MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, and the Very Revered Dr. John Chalmers, Chair of the Affordable Credit Action Group. Both highlighted the pivotal role credit unions play in advancing affordable credit and helping to build financial resilience among the people of Scotland.

Aileen Campbell, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, said:

“It was fantastic to learn about the work of the Credit Union Consortium and the success these five credit unions have had in engaging with local employers and the benefits of working together. Credit unions contribute towards our aim of making Scotland a fairer and more equal country and I want to do what I can to grow the movement further so they can continue to put people before profit.”

Graeme Mullin, Employer Engagement Officer, said:

“We could all benefit from some extra help to get on top of our finances, and building a savings habit is a big part of that. Many employers don’t realise the financial hardship that staff can be facing and the impact this has on their ability to perform their job well. Credit union payroll savings and loans are such an easy scheme for employers to put in place and deliver so many benefits.

Scotland’s credit unions have been making a difference individually for many years. I am really pleased to be working for the consortium partners in this pilot which will help even more of Scotland’s workers reap the benefits of credit union membership.”

The credit union consortium two-year pilot, funded by the consortium partners and the Carnegie UK Trust, seeks to double their number of employer-credit union partnerships, as well as encourage more innovation and collaboration across Scotland’s credit union sector.

Carnegie UK’s support of the credit union consortium as part of our Affordable Credit programme of activity, which supports the growth of fair and affordable credit lenders in Scotland.

To find out more about the Credit Union Consortium and the benefits of payroll deduction in the workplace, visit www.creditunionconsortium.co.uk