Glasgow Credit Union paid me the best possible dividend ... my daughter!

IF GOOD things come to those who wait, mum Louise Scully must surely have hit the jackpot.

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Louise Scully studied for a Masters degree with the help of the credit union
Louise Scully studied for a Masters degree with the help of the credit union

When she started saving with Glasgow Credit Union from its opening 25 years ago, Louise never dreamed it could make her wish to have a baby come true.

After years of unsuccessfully trying to start a family, Glasgow City Council employee Louise and her husband David took out a loan to pay for IVF - and baby Emma was the dividend bonus they were hoping for.

"My sister had a millennium baby on January 1 and I think that's what gave me the kick start to do something," remembers Louise, 50.

"We had been trying for a long time and finally went to the Nuffield hospital in Glasgow."

The proud mum adds: "We've been lucky. Emma is 13 now and an elite athlete.

She has just competed in the North District Swimming Grand Prix in Aberdeen, and secured her times for the Scotland Youth Development Squad, so we're really delighted."

When Glasgow Credit Union first opened its doors from an office in the City Chambers, Louise was working in the typing pool and moving into her first flat in Shettleston.

She saved every month and took out a loan to help pay for furniture.

Over the years she used the credit union to buy her first car.

"It was a Volks-wagen Beetle and it wasn't reliable," she laughs. "I had to get my neighbours to give me a push start sometimes."

Tapping into the credit union's easy access and flexibility, Louise went on to study for a Masters degree.

"By that time I had become a planning technician and I wanted to do a planning course.

"Work said they would give me the time off and part fund it but I would need to pay the rest."

Long-haul holidays followed and in 1998, just after they moved house, Louise and David booked a Caribb-ean cruise and decided to get marr-ied at the same time.

Louise says she joined the credit union simply because it was so handy: the money came straight off her wages so she didn't really miss it.

Over the years, when she got a pay rise she would save it, then take out a loan against her savings to pay for unexpected emergencies, such as car repairs or the dishwasher breaking down.

"You have to save so it's good," says Louise.

"I don't think I've ever gone outside for a loan because it's so straightforward.

"You save money each month and say an unexpected item comes up, you can borrow against your savings.

"You can have more than one account, so I usually have two savings accounts - one might be something I'm paying off, and the other saving for holidays."

The Scully family now live in Fairlie, North Ayrshire, and Louise still saves every month with the credit union.

Over the years it has moved to a new office in Morrison Street and its facilities are available to members online.

The largest and most successful credit union in the UK, it has set the standard for offering low-cost loans and mortgages, lending £400million since it started.

Back in the early years, the average loan balance was £900 and members typically borrowed for holiday expenses.

THESE days people borrow for high-value items, from home improvements to weddings.

"You can access your savings - sometimes I'll do that just before I get paid," says Louise.

"You just make a withdrawal and it goes straight into your bank account. It's handy.

"Sometimes it's maybe not a lot of money you need and it might just be a couple of hundred pounds, depending on what you need it for."

Competitive interest rates and no early redemption charges on loans also help make the credit union popular.

As the recession bit seven years ago, it became a more affordable and sensible option to many families.

"The bonus is that you get a dividend twice a year on what you have saved," says Louise.

Glasgow Credit Union chief executive June Walker says: "Our credit union was created out of a desire to provide a much-needed alternative source of finance to the people of Glasgow, and now 25 years on our services are more relevant than ever.

"We celebrate our 25th anniversary as the UK's largest and most successful credit union, and Glasgow's Favourite Business, but most importantly as a trusted, local financial provider to our 35,000 members. A quarter of a century in business is a great achievement - here's to the next 25."

l Glasgow Credit Union, 95 Morrison Street, Glasgow. 0141 274 9933

angela.mcmanus@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Finance

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