Thomas McVay examines the role that financial cooperatives play in improving the communities they serve
Today (Thursday 15 October), SCVO Credit Union and our international counterparts will come together to celebrate International Credit Union Day and the role that financial cooperatives play in improving the communities they serve and the lives of their members the world over.
This year’s theme – ‘inspiring hope for a global community’ - speaks to how credit unions around the globe provide a high level of service to their members. Credit union services became even more important over the past year due to the ongoing financial impact of coronavirus, which has set them apart from other financial institutions. For example at SCVO Credit Union, we recognised the enormous financial difficulties our members were facing as a result of coronavirus and treated all member requests with the courtesy and respect they needed during such a difficult time – accounts were frozen and extensions of both emergency loan amounts and payments were granted to help support our members.
We also want to use this important day as an opportunity to share some exciting news – we now have regulatory approval to open up our membership to include not just SCVO member organisations, but anyone employed within the Scottish voluntary sector. This has taken a few years to complete due to the complexity of our membership base and we are delighted to be able to offer our services to more people than ever before.
Helping our members is part of our cooperative business objectives and in times of need we are glad to be there for them. Our cooperative principles are similar to the aims and objectives of those Scottish charities that provide payroll deduction for our members. Sharing and meeting the delivery of mutual services within the voluntary sector is crucial as employers have the financial wellbeing of their employees at heart. With the creation of a payroll deduction partnership with SCVO credit union we can help alleviate some day-to-day financial concerns of many of those who work in the Scottish voluntary sector.
This day is a celebration of the impact credit unions and other financial cooperatives have made—and continue to make - for their members. It is also a chance to be thankful for the lives and communities and organisations that have been improved by our movement, and we would like to thank our colleagues across SCVO for their work and commitment over the last year which has enabled us to reach out to many more members. You can read about some of the people who have benefitted from credit unions here.
Thomas McVay is manager of SCVO Credit Union