AGM  11th March 2019

Over the years that the credit union has existed and evolved, we have faced many challenges:-

  • Bad debt
  • The transition from paper to computers
  • Suitable premises for our operations
  • The constant battle to find volunteers

To date, we have dealt with those challenges although they haven’t gone away and they could return.  Those challenges were existential and failing to deal with any one of them could have brought about the demise of the credit union.

Today, our financial position is relatively strong – for the first time, we have assets of over half a million pounds – and our volunteer situation is fairly satisfactory.

We are looking forward, optimistically, to growing and improving the credit union but that very growth could bring about a big change in the nature of the credit union. 

We pride ourselves on the fact that we know so many of our members so well. For most of the volunteers, this personal relationship with members is one of the main reasons why volunteering with the credit union is rewarding. We are able to have such a close relationship with members because we are a relatively small organisation but as we grow this personal knowledge of members will inevitably diminish. This negative aspect of growth has to be balanced against the positive aspect that increased growth usually allows credit unions to offer enhanced services to members and or easier access to those services.

 We have now put systems in place that allow a member to deposit and withdraw money without having to visit the office so we are deliberately introducing changes that will reduce the personal contact between members and volunteers.

We want to develop our website and/or introduce mobile phone apps so that members have even more access to the credit union services. We think we have to do these things to ensure the continuation of the credit union but again, if members do not visit the office, how do we know what they want and if we don’t know what they want, how can we respond to their needs?

Changes such as these will, inevitably, reduce the personal contact that volunteers have with members so we must look for other ways to promote the message that this organisation exists for members and that we are here to provide services that they want.

Already, our connection with members via Social Media has improved enormously. Our work with schools and our Community Awards can also help us to make different types of connections with members and with the community at large.  There are ways that we can hold onto our core principles as we get larger but it probably requires “new thinking” from some of us longer-serving volunteers. It is definitely a challenge for some!

The motto displayed on the window of our premises explains in three words why we are here and also what we do.

People Helping People

I think that we must continue to grow but as we do, we must ensure that we do not lose sight of that motto and that it remains as the very heart and soul of our credit union.

We do not want to lose that core principle – we want to ensure that it continues to be.

These challenges were “connected” in that overcoming them was essential to keep the credit union going. Any one of them could have resulted in us going out of business. They were challenges to our continued existence

I think that we are now facing a new challenge or perhaps the word change might be more appropriate.   I think that we are now on a cusp

The Oxford Dictionary defines a cusp as ‘a point of transition between two different states’ and I think that Clackmannanshire Credit Union is at that point of transition.

For the first time, our assets now exceed half a million pounds.

We are, hopefully!, becoming a bit more “professional” in the way we operate our systems and in our new focus on Marketing and Advertising.

We have now put systems in place that allow a member to deposit and withdraw money without having to visit the office so we are deliberately introducing changes that will reduce the personal contact between members and volunteers.

We have introduced these changes so that our members can receive a better service but we do not want to lose that connection that we have with those same members.

The “Challenge” that we now face is how to maintain the close relationship with members. Social Media and will almost certainly have a big role to play and already we are seeing a marked increase in our on-line connections with members.