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  • Lower cost borrowing for Fifers

    Created: 18/12/2017

    Many of us, our staff, volunteers, service users, friends and neighbours need to borrow money at times.  The cost of borrowing money can vary considerably, from high cost lenders that can charge a lot of interest to lower cost, local not-for-profit solutions (more on that later!).

    Fife's Community Planning Partnership (of which FVA is a key member) and Fife Council recently committed to trying to help lower the cost of borrowing for Fifers.  We'd like to reduce the need for borrowing in the first instance and are working hard in partnership on things like promoting the voluntary Living Wage and supporting more people into well-paid and sustainable jobs.  We also have the impact of Universal Credit and other circumstances outwith our control.  We know that many families are finding it harder to make ends meet.  

    Thousands of Fifers will be accessing services of high interest lenders to meet the cost of Christmas or pay for emergencies. This could ultimately lead to financial hardship and exclusion. Across the whole of Fife there are other ways of accessing credit and getting help. There's a lot of advice and support agencies who can help from Fife Council local offices, to CARF and Foodbanks.  For more information please contact us.

    The Fife Partnership, and FVA, have committed to two other initiatives to help: supporting credit unions, and establishing a social enterprise (not-for-profit) lender - a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).  This article looks to share a bit more information about these two initiatives.


    Credit Unions

    Credit Unions are not for profit financial institutions offering access to affordable loans and savings. Their community based ethos of ‘people looking after people’ sees all profits returned to members.

    The 5 credit unions operating across Fife each offer a range of ethical financial products and low-cost loans which can help Fife citizens during the challenging festive debt period and throughout the year.

    Benarty and Lochgelly Credit Union, Cardenden and Kinglassie Credit Union, Kingdom Credit Union (incorporating Dunfermline and District Credit Union), North East Fife Credit Union and Tay Valley Credit Union offer varying services in different areas of Fife - but each aim to help boost members’ access to affordable credit and money management skills by providing savings products and low-cost loans.

    There’s no need to worry about the money you save in a credit union, as all deposits in a credit union are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme up to the value of £85,000 per person – exactly the same level of protection as savings in a bank or building society.

    To become a credit union member, or to find out more, please contact Fife Credit Union Development Team on 01592 645367 or e-mail [email protected]

    Credit unions are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority.


    CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution)

    Conduit Scotland is the new CDFI for Fife - covering Fife, West Lothian and Falkirk Council areas, with support from the local authorities and community planning partners.

    They provide an alternative to high cost, short-term lenders such as ‘payday loan’ providers or doorstep lenders. It is for people who are not eligible for mainstream credit including bank loans or credit cards, and who may not be able to access credit union loans. They reach residents on lower incomes with no record of savings and who have an extremely poor or no credit rating. Conduit Scotland often reach customers who won’t seek advice from other advice and support services, but may be vulnerable to financial shock and need support to help manage day to day.

    Conduit Scotland operates throughout Fife and is a not-for profit organisation. They work with customers and relevant services to maximise household income and reduce outgoings. They offer fair, affordable and flexible loans up to £1,000 to people over 18 (normally over 6 to 12 months); on low incomes who cannot access mainstream lending due to having no/poor credit rating.

    Please contact Stephanie Plotnikoff or visit for more information.

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