On a sister site came a comment on the amazing news (FT Money) that banks are to be invited into schools to educate children . . . it ended:
“Financial education – and lessons in the art of form-filling until plain English triumphs – is undoubtedly needed in schools to equip pupils to cope with ‘the system’, but choose decent, honest, intelligent and well-informed people to give this instruction. My candidate would be financial journalist Paul Gosling; name yours . . .”
There is widespread disillusionment with mainstream banks but at least, thought this member, our Co-operative Bank had not indulged in speculative ventures and rate rigging and could be invited with impunity.
Then on the 5th January came the news that the Financial Services Authority has fined the Co-operative Bank £113,300 for “serious failings” in the way it handled claims for compensation relating to mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI).
A Coventry reader suggested that representatives of credit unions would offer a better education to the young
All on our mailing list will know about these member-owned financial co-operatives, democratically controlled by members, promoting thrift and providing credit at competitive rates, but we include more information for visitors to the website.
Moneysaving Expert explains that credit unions aim to help people to take control of their money by encouraging them to save what they can afford and later to borrow only what they can afford to repay.
They are small non-profit organisations, set up by members with something in common: living in the same town, working in the same industry or belonging to a particular trade union.
Credit union regulations prevent them from lending out of all their members’ savings (or create money like the private banks) and speculating. All money in savings unions has the same Government protection as bank savings accounts under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
There are 500 or so credit unions in the UK offering loans, savings and current accounts to over 900,000 adults and over 100,000 junior savers. Norris Green Community Credit Union in Liverpool was set up in 1999 and now has 4000 members. They help those who can’t get access to ordinary bank products, providing a lifeline in less well-off communities for folks and a welcome alternative to payday loans or doorstep lending. Moreover, from 2012 credit union membership was opened to organisations.
Those who want to bank ethically and benefit their community also join credit unions and some larger credit unions, such as the police union or the big Glasgow credit union, offer better products than mainstream finance.
Those who want to find their local credit union may go to ABCUL’s Find Your Credit Union website and search by postcode or employment type, or call Abcul on 0800 015 3060.