Scotcash working for Glasgow Communities
Earlier this week, a report by The Carnegie UK Trust's Affordable Credit Working Group said a step-change is needed in the credit industry if financial exclusion is to be tackled – with Scotcash currently the only initiative of its kind in the country.
Picture above: Scotcash CEO, Sharon MacPherson launching the 'Gateway to Affordable Credit Report' with members of the Carnegie Working Group including - Douglas White, Carnegie Trust and the Right Rev. John Chalmers, Church of Scotland.
Yesterday, Glasgow’s City Treasurer Bailie Philip Braat and Business, Energy and Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing MSP met staff at the project’s High Street headquarters to find out more about how they are helping thousands of Glaswegians avoid unmanageable debt.
Scotcash was founded as a social enterprise in 2007, backed by Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Housing Association.
Since then, its affordable loans have saved customers over £4.7m in interest payments, compared to high-cost lenders – and helped hundreds of Glaswegians start savings.
City Treasurer Bailie Philip Braat said:
“Scotcash is a very important part of Glasgow’s response to financial exclusion. It is unique within Scotland, but I think every community needs a project like this that can work with some of the most vulnerable people and support them through often very tough circumstances.”
Chief Executive Sharon MacPherson said:
“Scotcash is a vital resource for many who would ordinarily have no choice but to turn to expensive sources of borrowing, or have difficulty gaining access to other financial products and services. We were delighted to welcome the City Treasurer and the Minister and are enthused that they take such a keen interest in financial inclusion and ensuring the financial needs of vulnerable communities are being met.”
Around 7% of people in Glasgow have no access to a bank account and 37% have no savings. This leaves them at a financial disadvantage, because they are unable to benefit from services such as direct debit discounts and cheaper borrowing.
Working with the Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays, Scotcash has helped open 2,255 bank accounts, while the organisation has also worked with many of the city’s credit unions to open 645 new savings accounts.
Mr Ewing said:
“As the Carnegie Trust report on affordable credit highlighted, organisations such as Scotcash and credit unions are vital, providing ethical loans and helping to tackle financial exclusion. I saw first-hand the impact that Scotcash is making to individuals and was impressed by a team committed to making a difference.”