Credit union set up in Milngavie

A NEW credit union is coming to Milngavie thanks to the efforts of the Justice and Peace Group at St Joseph’s Church.

They approached Drumchapel Credit Union recently to ask if they could set up a satellite office in the village to offer loans at reasonable rates to local residents.

Member of the Justice and Peace Group, Dorothy Parkin, said: “The present credit crisis has encouraged the aggressive promotion of ‘pay day’ loan opportunities.

“They offer a convenient and fast service to those strapped for cash. However what is less well advertised is their astronomical interest rates - APRs of 1000 per cent to more than 4000 per cent.

“They are essentially legalised loan sharks and many who use these services are unaware of a fairer and much more economical saving and loan service available through a credit union.”

Drumchapel Credit Union offers an APR of 15 per cent at present. It was the first of its kind in Scotland and has been operating continuously for over 40 years and is run in a not-for-profit way.

This means that depositors’ money is used to run the service and reward its members – not to pay outside shareholders or international investment bankers.

The credit union provides affordable financial services to help members take control of their money and borrow only what they can afford to repay.

Members are encouraged to save on a regular basis and loans are made from this pool of money.

Some of the services available are savings, loans, Christmas club, children’s savings accounts, benefits/income direct, foreign currency, pre-paid debit cards, income protection insurance, family life insurance and instant loans.

The office will be run in the Fraser Centre in Milngavie town centre each Friday morning from 10am to midday from April 13.

It will be a community initiative staffed by volunteers and once the office is in operation people can call in for more information with no obligation.

To join the credit union you need to take along proof of identity, recent proof of address and a minimum of £5 to open an account.

East Dunbartonshire Council has welcomed this initiative and hopes that if successful it will extend to other parts of the area.