Hi-Scot Credit Union Is 13 Years Old And Still Growing
30th October 2019
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.
"HI-Scot has continued to grow, year on year, since 2006," said General Manager, David Mackay, "In 2011 we expanded to Highland region and the Orkney and Shetland Islands and now have over 3000 members."
With almost £4 million held on deposit, HI-Scot members are certainly seeing the benefits of saving regularly through the credit union. Many members use payroll deduction, an easy way to save every week or month, and a service offered by many employers, including Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and NHS Western Isles.
Members also benefit from a range of loan products, meaning that a new car, washing machine or kitchen can become an affordable reality. Over the past thirteen years, HI-Scot have approved over £9.5 million in loans and, with a process which considers each application individually, tailor member's borrowing to their personal circumstances. There's no "Computer says no" with HI-Scot!
"As people start to look for more ethical ways of banking, credit unions offer their members something that High Street banks cannot," David Mackay said, "HI-Scot is owned entirely by its members and so operates with their interests at heart."
HI-Scot is based in James Street, Stornoway, but the credit union is accessible in all areas of the Highlands and Islands thanks to online services and local Access Points. More information can be found on HI-Scot's website: www.hi-scot.com
“It's been a great thirteen years and the credit union is thriving.” David added, “All of us at HI-Scot look forward to many more years supporting our members across the Highlands and Islands to save, borrow and plan for tomorrow.”
In Caithness Bill Fernie who is a director of Hi-Scot Credit Union will be at the Pulteney Centre, Wick on on 11 December at 4.00pm to hold a local meeting as part of the Annual General Meeting. Notices will appear at a later date.
"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.
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.
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.
Scottish Government Launches ‘people, Not Profit' Campaign To Support The Scottish Credit Unions Sector. The ‘People, Not Profit' credit unions campaign has been launched by Aileen Campbell, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government today (Wednesday 14 November 2018), as results of a new survey reveal that one in five (20%) people in Scotland have not heard of a credit union.
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