Why are you a member of Scotwest Credit Union? Are you rebelling against the “big banks”; are you attracted to the idea of mutual ownership and of “people helping people”; or is it simply the convenience of being able to save though your payroll? It doesn’t matter why you joined, everyone is welcome, but now you are here, how can you make your credit union (and hence your money) work for you? Well, that’s about three things: what we do, how we do it and what you do:

What we do

Did you know that credit unions can only serve people within their “common bond” and, if you did, have you ever wondered why? The reasoning behind a common bond is to try and bring people together who have (to a greater or lesser extent) similar needs and circumstances in order that their credit union can focus on satisfying those needs (within the scope of the regulations of course!). So how can your credit union know want you want if you don’t engage? You can call us, e-mail us, tweet, share/comment on Facebook and take part in our annual member survey – it all matters and it all counts towards the continued development of Scotwest.

How we do it

As owners of the business, each credit union member has a democratic say in how it is run. That democracy is exercised on a “one person one vote” basis at general meetings and by the membership electing a group of their peers to serve as the Board of Directors to ensure that the staff run the business in the best interests of the membership. Becoming a director isn’t easy, but it is rewarding and we will invest in your skills, but even if you don’t want to stand for election, at least take part in the Annual General Meeting and have your say in who does run your credit union on your behalf. (As you will find from next month’s blog, this year’s AGM will be special, so it will be an ideal opportunity to come along for the first time.)

What you do

Credit unions only material source of income is the interest we get from lending to members. We use that income to run the business, meet regulatory requirements and, most importantly, pay a dividend on savings. It is therefore very important for Scotwest to have the right balance of savers and borrowers. Fundamentally we want you to save, but if you are going to borrow for a holiday, car, etc. we want you to consider borrowing from us. Not only will you get market leading rates (don’t forget the rate we advertise is the rate we give you) BUT some of the interest you pay will end up back with you in the form of dividend.

….Now that’s making your money work for you!

Kenny MacLeod, CEO