City council announces plan to bail out stricken credit union

Aberdeen City Council has announced that it is in talks with creditors to take over a credit union which collapsed last month.

The authority said it made the move with the intent of potentially providing residents in the north east with an alternative to traditional high street banking in the wake of Royal Bank of Scotland’s decision to cull its number of branches in the region.

Of the 62 branches in Scotland that RBS named in December as marked for closure, three are within miles of the Granite City – Dyce, Bridge of Don and Ellon.

According to the local Press & Journal newspaper, if the bid to save NESCU (North East Scotland Credit Union) is successful, it is planned that new branches would to be opened in the city.

On February 27, a message was published on the NESCU website stating that the co-operative had gone into administration and had ceased trading.

More than 2,500 people who invested money into the north-east credit union have been assured they will have their savings returned after the organisation went bust.

Speaking this week, Aberceen City Council co-leader Jenny Laing said: “Unfortunately, the poorest in our society have long been excluded from the savings and borrowing systems in this country because of the way they are set up by high-street banks. This has left a vacuum which has been filled by unscrupulous lenders like payday loan companies.

“I have instructed the director of resources to enter into discussions with NESCU’s administrators in an attempt to secure its long-term viability.”

She added: “We have all come to recognise that big business is not the panacea for our economic problems.”

And last night opposition SNP finance spokesman Alex Nicoll said the group was supportive of the moves.

He said: “Credit unions play a vital role in improving lives in our city.

“Of course I would back any moves to help support NESCU and other credit unions.

“If we want to celebrate their successes then it’s only right we stand by them when they need our help.

“Going further, I still believe the council should be looking to set up a community bank and that this would help complement the important work of the city’s credit unions.

“We have all come to recognise that big business is not the panacea.”

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