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HI-Scot Credit Union crosses "The Pond"

7th February 2012

HI-Scot Credit Union, the Credit Union for the Highlands and Islands, has just enjoyed its busiest start to a year in its five year history.

Membership now stands at over 2000 and interest in the Credit Union just continues to grow.

However, this success does not mean HI-Scot are resting on their laurels. In fact they have just announced the introduction of a new product, a Credit Union Pre-Paid Debit Card.

The Pre-Paid Debit Card is electronically loaded with funds from a member's account. The card can then be used to withdraw cash at any ATM, and it can be used to purchase goods in stores, by telephone or over the internet.

The first Pre-Paid card to be issued by HI-Scot has in fact been already used in the United States, a member of HI-Scot had occasion to be working in the USA in January this year and took the card with them as a convenient and safe way of accessing her Credit Union funds.

Commenting on HI-Scot's continued success, David Mackay, HI-Scot General Manager said: "There are many reasons why individuals are looking at there Local Credit Union for saving and Borrowing, the Banking Crisis has dented confidence and people want a Financial Organisation which they feel they can trust and one that exists solely for the benefit of its members, that is exactly what the Credit union offers."

So five years on from very small beginnings in the Western Isles to providing a service in the USA it seems like there is no stopping this Highland and Island success story.

If you would like to become a member of the largest Credit Union in the region, please telephone 01851 701865, e mail info[AT] or log onto our website at

What is a Credit Union?
The modern Credit Union movement traces its origins to Germany and to Friedrich Willhelm Raiffeisen, the Mayor of a small town in southern Germany, who in 1849 formed societies, which later evolved in to Credit Unions. The purposes of these Credit Unions was to enable people to help themselves in relieving debt and poverty.

HI-Scot Credit Union is a community based financial co-operative owned, run and controlled by its own members. All Credit Union members have something in common (the common bond) and every member has an equal vote in the running of the Credit Union. The HI-Scot Credit Union common bond area is a work or live membership, covering the Highlands and Islands area of Scotland.

HI-Scot Credit Union is a non-profit making financial co-operative run entirely by the people for the people. How do Credit Unions work for members? Savings are pooled together to be used as a common fund from which members can apply for loans. Credit Unions encourage people to save, and members have financial security through low cost loans.

When someone joins the Credit Union they open an account (savings). It is called a share account because individuals become part owner of the Credit Union.

Since Credit Unions are not-for-profit organisations, any money made above the cost of operations is returned to the members in the form of dividend.

Credit Unions in the UK were in existence for some time before the movement gained momentum in 1979, when the Credit Unions Act was passed.

Since then, the Credit Union philosophy of mutual self-help has proved very popular, and there are now over 600 Credit Unions affiliated to the Association of British of Credit Unions (ABCUL) throughout England, Scotland and Wales.

In the UK over 360,000 members have recognized the value of credit unions, and have savings approaching 300 million pounds with their credit unions. There are thousands employed in the sector and many more thousands are volunteers involved in the movement.

Anyone living within the Highland Region can join at any of the Highland Council's Service Points. A full list can be found at the Highland Council's website

In Orkney you can join at Voluntary Action Orkney or Orkney Housing Association Ltd both based in Kirkwall.

Ada Campbell is available to sign up new Members at the Claddach Kirkibost Centre, North Uist, on Tuesdays from 3.30pm to 5.30pm. Please telephone in advance on 01876 510250. Alternative times may be arranged to suit individual enquiries.

Marie Campbell is available to sign up new Members at Gleus House, Daliburgh, on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays during normal office hours. Please telephone in advance on 01878 700505. Marie is also available at the Lionacleit Education Centre on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during normal office hours - Tel: 01870 603653.

Katie MacLeod & Morag Munro, HCVS are available to sign up new Members at their office in the Old Hostel, Tarbert during normal office hours. Tel: 01859 502171.

In Barra, Catherine L McFadyen is available to sign up new Members at the Council offices.

More information on the web site