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Scottish banks end free services for CUs consumers hurt
DUNDEE, Scotland (9/19/11)--At least two major Scottish banks are attempting to end free financial services for credit unions--a move that could cause some of the country’s most economically stressed members more financial hardship. Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Clydesdale Bank are looking to introduce charges for credit unions that offer affordable alternatives to expensive borrowing (The Herald Sept. 15). Scotland has more than 100 credit unions with a total membership of roughly 250,000 people. As an example, Discovery CU in Dundee, Scotland, which has had free financial services with RBS since 2003, could have to pay up to 800 pounds (about $1,250) per month in financial services fees to RBS. That monthly payment could eventually limit the amount of money Discovery could lend to it members (thecourier.co.uk Sept. 16). No final agreement on charges had been agreed to at Discovery, RBS said. Also, negotiations are ongoing to reduce the amount of fees Discovery would have to pay RBS, The Herald said. “Inefficiencies” in RBS’ reviewing policy had led to many businesses “enjoying free transaction charges” for many years, which had led to an “unfairness in the system,” a representative of RBS told a meeting at the credit union last month, according to a report to Discovery’s board of directors. RBS is looking at “all income streams” given recent events within the business, the report added.


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