Moray credit union grows fast boosted by fight against Payday Lenders

Moray’s only Credit Union is set to extend from its Forres roots its members learned at their 19th Annual General Meeting last week.

The Forres Area Credit Union’s members learned of a “very good operating year” despite difficult trading conditions with low interest on bank deposits and a squeeze on members’ incomes.

Financial Director Linda Strathdee reported savings of over half a million pounds held by the Union while loans to members stood at £291,330.

Supervisory Officer Steve Childs said that the Credit Union was to be congratulated for returning a surplus for the year in these circumstances, out of which the meeting agreed a dividend of 1% would be paid on savings, in addition to increasing the statutory General Reserves.

The growth experienced by Credit Unions throughout Scotland on the back of a nationwide campaign to lessen the personal impact of payday loan companies was reflected in Forres, with over twice as many new adult members joining in the last quarter of 2013 compared to the previous year.

Chair of the Credit Union, Lorna Creswell, said this was attributed to “lobbying against payday lenders who were charging extortionate rates of interest”. She also welcomed an upsurge in positive press stories – but added that published articles needed to stress the need for members to save at a Credit Union before borrowing.

Recent changes in the Forres Area Credit Union’s constitution would mean that residents living and working throughout Moray and Nairn would soon be able to join with both join and group accounts available. This would be rolled out as volunteer skills and office procedures were improved with grant assistance from Moray Leader and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

To encourage new volunteers, Board Member Carrie Custodio spoke positively to the meeting about her first year, explaining that being on the Board “at first terrified me, but now I find it fascinating and informative”.

Anyone wishing to join or volunteer with the Forres Area Credit Union can call on 01309 676735 or by emailing – further details on the Forres Area Credit Union website or by calling into the office at 138 High Street, Forres.

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