HI-Scot credit union is on a mission – to get the Highlands and Islands saving in 2020.

“As we enter our 14th year of business, we’ll be spreading the word about the benefits of saving with the credit union,” said HI-Scot’s General Manager, David Mackay. “HI-Scot is member-led and member-run and we offer a range of services.”

HI-Scot is well established in the Western Isles, where the credit union is based. Their aim in 2020 is to raise awareness across the whole of the Highlands and Islands, highlighting their services which include accessible loans, online banking and payroll deduction.

Payroll deduction, for example, allows members to save directly from their salaries. This service is currently available to tens of thousands of employees in the Highlands and Islands – all they need to do to access it is to become a member of HI-Scot.

There are over 430,000 people saving with credit unions across Scotland and 3200 of those are members of HI-Scot credit union.

“In the Western Isles, where HI-Scot started out, we have just over 8% of the population saving with HI-Scot and we aim to raise the level of our membership across our common bond area, which incorporates the Highlands, Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands and the Western Isles.” David explained.

The credit union is run is differently from traditional high street banks. Anyone who joins becomes a member and has a vote and, each year at the AGM, a Board of Directors is voted in from the membership.

“Every one of our Directors is a HI-Scot member,” David said. “And each one is voted in by the wider membership. They all carry out their roles in a voluntary capacity, meaning that HI-Scot is run for the members, by the members. There are no external shareholders.”

Credit unions across the globe are run in this way, with savings and loans helping to keep money in local communities.

“I'd encourage anyone in the Highlands and Islands who wants to save or borrow to consider HI-Scot this year,” David said.