Scotland’s Credit Unions Move Forward
After the Scottish people voted to reject a referendum to gain independence from Great Britain last week, it was business as usual for Scotland’s 106 credit unions.
The landmark no vote gave credit unions the certainty to plan ahead, knowing that the legislation will continue to originate from the British Parliament and regulation will be consistent across Scotland, England and Wales, Frank McKillop, policy manager at the Association of British Credit Unions Limited, in Manchester, England, said in an email interview with CU Times.
“Like the overall population, Scotland’s credit union practitioners were split between ‘yes’ and ‘no,’” he said. “So, while meeting with key government officials to ensure credit unions’ interests were considered, ABCUL remained strictly neutral throughout this campaign.”
According to international media reports, 55% voted against the Scottish independence referendum and 45% voted for independence.
An online and telephone survey of 2,047 adults conducted by The Guardian, a British national daily newspaper, found that nearly half of the survey’s respondents voted against the independence referendum because the “risk of becoming independent looked too great when it came to things like currency, European Union membership, the economy, jobs and prices.”
McKillop pointed out that had Scotland voted to become an independent country, it would have created a number of issues involving regulations, deposits guarantees, cross-border operations and other issues around currency variation and placing deposits with British banks.
He described Scotland’s credit union movement as thriving with 355,000 members and $762 million in assets.
A brochure for the World Council of Credit Unions Conference hosted in Glasgow, Scotland, in July 2011 boasted that the city was the credit union capital of Great Britain with 34 credit unions serving more than 120,000 members, or about one in five of Glasgow’s 598,000 residents.