HI-Scot credit union is on a mission - to get the Highlands and Islands saving in 2020
26th February 2020
"As we enter our fourteenth year of business, we'll be spreading the word about the benefits of saving with the credit union," said HI-Scot's General Manager, David Mackay. "HI-Scot is member led and member run and we offer a range of services."
HI-Scot is well established in the Western Isles, where the credit union is based. Their aim in 2020 is to raise awareness across the whole of the Highlands and Islands, highlighting their services which include accessible loans, online banking and payroll deduction.
Payroll deduction, for example, allows members to save directly from their salaries. This service is currently available to tens of thousands of employees in the Highlands and Islands - all they need to do to access it is to become a member of HI-Scot.
There are over 430,000 people saving with credit unions across Scotland and 3200 of those are members of HI-Scot credit union.
"In the Western Isles, where HI-Scot started out, we have just over 8% of the population saving with HI-Scot and we aim to raise the level of our membership across our common bond area, which incorporates the Highlands, Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands and the Western Isles." David explained.
The credit union is run is differently from traditional high street banks. Anyone who joins becomes a member and has a vote and, each year at the AGM, a Board of Directors is voted in from the membership.
"Every one of our Directors is a HI-Scot member," David said. "And every one is voted in by the wider membership. They all carry out their roles in a voluntary capacity, meaning that HI-Scot is run for the members, by the members. There are no external shareholders."
Credit unions across the globe are run in this way, with savings and loans helping to keep money in local communities.
“I'd encourage anyone in the Highlands and Islands who wants to save or borrow to consider HI-Scot this year,” David said.
More information can be found on HI-Scot's website:www.hi-scot.com
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In 2020, HI-Scot credit union's focus is on making saving and borrowing easier for our members, particularly through the use of payroll deduction with businesses across the Highlands and Islands. Thousands of employees already have access to payroll deduction with HI-Scot, something the credit union wants to build on in the coming year, promoting the service to employees who work with existing partners and showing other businesses the benefits of offering payroll deduction to their staff.
HI-Scot, the credit union for the Highlands and Islands, has vowed to make 2020 the year when saving and borrowing are even more accessible. With a focus on payroll deduction, allowing people to save directly from their pay packet every month via their employer, the credit union offers a viable alternative to high street banking in 2020.
As 2019 draws to an end, the staff and volunteers at HI-Scot credit union are reflecting on a successful year for the organisation. "We are pleased to report that 2019 was another twelve months of growth for HI-Scot," said Margaret Ann MacLeod, Chair of the Board of Directors, "This is good news not only for the credit union, but for our members and the communities we serve across the Highlands and Islands." At the recent HI-Scot AGM, the members attending approved a 0.5% dividend.
Christmas came early across the Highlands and Islands for members of HI-Scot credit union. Canny savers received their Christmas savings in November, leaving plenty of time to get their Christmas shopping done.
The number thirteen might be unlucky for some, but not HI-Scot credit union who are celebrating thirteen years of serving their members across the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. From humble beginnings as an idea conceived by hard-working volunteers determined to bring an ethical, community-minded option for saving and borrowing to the islands, Western Isles credit union (HI-Scot's original incarnation) opened its doors in 2006.
Employers can help their staff to save very easily by offering payroll deductions each month with a credit union. Credit unions are financial co-operatives owned and controlled by their members.
In October HI-Scot, the credit union for the Highlands and Islands, will take part in a worldwide celebration of credit unions. Thursday 17th October is International Credit Union Day 2019, a day which highlights the history and achievements of the movement, as well as raising the profile of the work of credit unions in local communities, reflected in this year's theme: 'Local Service, Global Reach.' "HI-Scot has been working across the Highlands and Islands for thirteen years and, in 2019, we have over three thousand members," said HI-Scot General Manager, David Mackay, "In that time we have approved over four thousand loans.
HI-Scot has been in existence since 2006, though up until 2010 was under the name of Western Isles Credit Union. The name was changed to HI-Scot to reflect that fact that we'd moved to a position of serving all of the Highlands & Islands, and indeed anyone who lives or works in this area can apply to join us.
Hi-Scot Credit Union has its Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 12th December 2018 at 4.00pm. The office of the credit union is based in Stornoway and due to the geography of Highland and Islands has moved more and more online.
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