The Edinburgh Methodist Church has set up a Credit Union to provide low-cost credits to the Edinburgh community.
Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) Sarah Boyack recently lodged a motion to express the Parliament’s support of this recently-established partnership between the City of Edinburgh Methodist Church and Capital Credit Union.
The scheme offers access to the credit union’s financial services to both those involved in the church and the wider community.
The church runs weekly information sessions about the service, run by church staff and volunteers.
Motion S4M-10847, lodged in August, attracted considerable cross-party support by other MSPs in the area.
The motion reads: “The Parliament congratulates the City of Edinburgh Methodist Church and the Capital Credit Union on their new joint credit union scheme, which aims to offer affordable loans and mortgages as an alternative to payday borrowing.”
The motion further offered support for a proposed mutual credit union for clergy and staff for the Church of England and the Church of Scotland, set to launch by the end of October.
Boyack said in a statement: “I was delighted to hear that the Church was working together with Capital Credit Union to launch this scheme and my motion in Parliament gathered strong cross party support.”
According to Belinda Letby, Minister of the City of Edinburgh Methodist Church, the partnership was prompted by economic hardship for not only members of the church, but also the wider community.
She said in a statement: “As a church, we see every day how tough times have been over the last few years for our members – and not only for them, but for their families and the community around us. “
Being a credit union, all members are required to save a certain amount on a weekly basis. According to Letby, this has its benefits.
She said: “The wonderful thing about credit unions is that all members save, so they will always have something to fall back on.”
Marlene Shiels, Capital Credit Union CEO, said in a statement: “Credit unions are built on the ethos of people helping people, and this is a perfect illustration of our philosophy in action.”
The Edinburgh University Students Association (EUSA) passed a motion in February 2014 expressing its support for credit unions as an alternative to predatory loans.
The motion reads: “Students at the University need access to a credit union as a means of obtaining low-cost socially responsible credit and saving money.”
EUSA first noted this need in October 2013, when it passed a motion banning short-term loans on EUSA premises and at societies.
The motion mandated the President of EUSA to “take measures to set up a student credit union, preferably with the financial backing of the University.”