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Thursday, 02 October 2014

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Millom Credit union: ‘We will sort out accounts’

THERE is a light at the end of the tunnel for Millom’s credit union, despite members being denied access to their savings in the run up to Christmas.

The Financial Services Authority suspended Millom and District Credit Union from lending money or allowing members access to their savings, as a penalty for being late with its accounts for the last three months of 2010.

Despite fears the credit union may be forced to fold, chairwoman Tess Fitzwilliam says the company just needed time to gets its accounts in order.

Ms Fitzwilliam said: “We changed our accounting systems in the switchover from 2010 to 2011 and because it was being managed by another company there was great haste to get the accounts changed over.

“The last three months of 2010 got screwed up in the transition.

“It’s taken a long time to unravel it because they are two totally different databases. There was a lot of admin work at the back of the changeover that wasn’t caught up on, so the balances were unable to be settled before the start of the new year.

“We were late and we couldn’t argue with that. In the end the FSA had to work to rule and put us on a suspension, where we could take loan repayments but we couldn’t give loans or monies out. It’s bad timing over Christmas but that’s the way it’s happened.”

After appealing to an independent review panel, the business has been given until the end of January to submit the correct accounts.

Ms Fitzwilliam said: “We went to an independent panel and explained the situation again. And because there are no financial irregularities that they can see, and it is a computer blip, it can be sorted, given time.

“They’ve given us until the end of January to help balance under the suspension. But there’s no reason to close the credit union.

“We’re quite confident with what they’ve given us now that we’ll be able to get it sorted.

“Our members that have been with us over a long time have been so supportive over this business. “People haven’t been caught out in great numbers, but there have been one or two disappointed people, but they are really understanding about what’s happened.”

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