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Home / News / Focus On: Taking control of your finances – Credit Unions

Focus On: Taking control of your finances – Credit Unions

Credit Union LogoHas your Christmas spending left you seeking a quick financial fix that could leave you facing increased levels of debt in the coming year?

Credit Unions could be an alternative option for anyone who might be thinking about a payday loan to help cover the cost of Christmas and meet the January credit card bills or whose debt is becoming a problem.

What is a Credit Union?

Credit Unions are not-for profit financial co-operatives dedicated to serving the needs of their members. When you join a Credit Union you open a ‘share account’. It’s called a share account because you become a member and part-owner of that Credit Union.

All Credit Unions are governed by a Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is made up from its own members and elected by its membership.

Can anyone become a member?

Credit Unions are made up of people with a common bond, something that draws them together – where they live, where they work, etc.

Anyone can join a Credit Union but the Credit Union you choose has to be appropriate – if you live and work in Edinburgh for example, you can’t join a Credit Union in Fife. Fortunately there are over 100 Credit Unions in Scotland, so it’s easy to find one that caters for the area you live in or the place you work.

Where can I find my nearest Credit Union?

There are five Credit Unions serving the Fife area, as well as others which people may have access to via their workplace or trade union:

How do Credit Unions differ from banks?

Credit Unions are not-for-profit organisations. Unlike banks which have shares on the stock market, each credit union’s shareholders are the customers who use them. Any money made above the cost of operations is returned to the members in the form of a dividend at the end of the year.

What are the benefits of joining a Credit Union?

  • Credit Unions can offer an easy way to save and access low-cost loans.
  • You can save regularly with the comfort of free life loan insurance.
  • Your money is protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
  • If you join one of Fife’s Credit Unions, you know you’ll be dealing with a local organisation with Fife-based colleagues.
  • You can be confident that you’ll be looked after by a financially secure organisation that has its members’ interests at its core.

Where can I get more information?

To find out more about the Credit Unions in Fife you can call Fife’s Credit Union Development Team on 0800 085 5803 or contact a specific Credit Union directly.

To learn more about the financial services Credit Unions provide to communities across the world, visit the World Council of Credit Unions at www.woccu.org

Kingdom Credit Union have also just opened a new branch in Valleyfield to service the West Fife Villages – for further information on this please contact Aileen Aitken on 03451 555 555 (ext. 401805) or via Aileen.Aitken@fife.gov.uk.