Renfrewshire credit unions merge as sector’s consolidation trend continues

Tail O’ The Bank CU in Greenock says increased regulatory reporting and a lack of volunteers has prompted its link-up with Paisley’s Right Way

Tail O’ The Bank (TOTB) in Greenock, Renfrewshire, has completed a merger with Paisley-based Right Way Credit Union.

The move follows last September’s vote of approval by TOTB’s board and members, prompted by increased regulatory reporting and falling numbers of volunteers to help with the running of the business, which led to increased pressure on the volunteer board.

It is hoped the move ensure the long-term sustainability and growth for TOTB, which recently celebrated its 40th anniversary. Right Way, a well-established community credit union serving over 5,000 members across the west of Scotland, says it is “committed to providing excellent member service, resilience within the sector and the ability to navigate evolving landscapes, making them the ideal partner for this exciting transition”.  

Right Way CEO Karen Wallace added: “Celebrating the merger marks an exciting new chapter for both our credit unions. By joining forces, we’re not only expanding our reach to serve over 11,000 people across the west of Scotland but shows our commitment across the credit union sector in delivering exceptional member service. The merger will see a wealth of opportunities ensuring that we can better support our valued members in achieving their financial goals.”

The merger will deliver improved online services to TOTB members including a mobile app where they can access their accounts – while TOTB’s Kilblain Street office will remain open.

Another merger is in the offing for Right Way, with members of Port Glasgow Credit Union voting last month for a transfer of engagements.

Proposing the merger, Port Glasgow told its members: “After careful deliberation, our board of directors, at this year’s AGM, will propose a merger of Port Glasgow Credit Union with Right Way Credit Union, Renfrewshire.

“This is not a decision we have come to lightly, yet we feel it is the most viable option. The directors have been working hard over the past few years to ensure our credit union’s long-term sustainability and growth opportunities, which has led to this decision.

“Recent years have seen a reduction in volunteers in the credit union, partnered with increased regulatory reporting, making running the credit union a greater challenge.”

It said Right Way is a “like-minded community credit union committed to providing excellent member service and maintaining strong financial stability”, adding: “We are working closely with Right Way to ensure this process is seamless for members. Your shares and loans, and protection, will be automatically transferred to Right Way.”

Consolidations and mergers has for several years been a trend for the credit union sector in the UK and abroad, as organisations deal with regulatory and financial pressures and pursue economies of scale. The issue has prompted ongoing discussion in the movement, including a session at the 2022 conference of the Assocation of British Credit Unions.

In March, South Wales’ Newport Credit Union merged with Smart Money Cymru to deliver access to online banking services and high street branches.