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September 9, 2009

Credit Union and Post Office – a perfect fit

Compared to countries like Canada, Australia and Ireland where it is the norm to have an account with a credit union, Scotland lags way behind (just 5% of population) which suggests there is massive potential for expansion.  Pollok Credit Union have just broken new ground by forming a highly innovative joint venture with the Post Office. It’s a first for Scotland

THE future of a Glasgow Post Office – and 14 jobs – has been secured thanks to a new partnership.

Pollok Credit Union has stepped in to run the local post office branch after the company decided it no longer wanted to run the service.

The post office was not under direct threat from the organisation’s closure plans, but without a new sub postmaster it would have closed.

Now Jim Garrity, director of Pollok Credit Union – which has 9000 members – will take on the role.

The move will see the services of the post office and the union housed in one shop in a new home in the Silverburn shopping centre.

Mr Garrity said: “This partnership will secure the future of two vital community services.

“It will be the first time post office services and credit union services will be delivered from one unit.

“It is especially appropriate in the current financial crisis that a credit union and post office should be working closely to deliver a comprehensive financial service to the community that provides a viable alternative to banks.”

The services are currently based at the old Pollok shopping centre, but that is due to be demolished, so the combined post office and credit union will move into its new premises in the New Year.

Ross Donaghey, of Post Office Ltd, said: “It is vital we continue to provide our services to the community and this deal allows us to do that.”

As reported in the Evening Times on Tuesday, another credit union – Scotwest – has seen a three-fold increase in the number of people using its Christmas saving scheme on last year.

The 755 Christmas members, who deposited a total of £283,000, also receive a 3% dividend, as well as all their cash back.

It is estimated there are 118million credit union members worldwide and each union has a common bond that determines who can join it.

Royal Mail’s closure programme has seen nearly 200 post offices axed in Scotland.

A further 89 have been replaced by outreach services, such as mobile libraries, or mini branches set up in village stores with reduced opening times.