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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

Cash crisis amid Millom and District Credit Union red tape wrangle

THE suspension of Millom’s credit union has meant families missing mortgage payments and charities losing out on vital donations, according to one upset member.

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.

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

Credit union saver and former Millom councillor Robin Pitt says the FSA has a lot to answer for after its suspension meant he could not access his savings over the festive period.

He said: “I wanted to give a friend of mine a few hundred pounds towards their mortgage to stop them facing eviction and I’ve got a charity that is dependant on me. But this year I can’t give them anything because I can’t access my own savings.

“I was told, one way or the other, I would be able to draw my money out by Christmas. The FSA told me it would be resolved within a week but now it’s not until the end of January. In the meantime my friends could end up being homeless and my charity will be bereft.”

Despite “poor accounting” from Millom and District Credit Union, Mr Pitt says the FSA should have taken a more common sense approach with regards to the timing of the suspension.

He said: “I think the FSA have a lot to answer for. They should lift this stupid ban which stops them paying me. One way or another we should have access to our money.

“The FSA could have relaxed the rules, at least over Christmas.

“My friends have a real problem paying off their mortgage, through no fault of their own, due to this wretched recession.”

Despite fears the credit union faced an uncertain future, chairwoman Tess Fitzwilliam says the company will have its
accounts in order by the newly imposed end of January deadline.

She said: “Ninety per cent of our members are saver borrowers. And as long as we can take their repayments they’re quite happy because they know, at the end of the day, their savings are safe.

“It’s the few savers that we have that have been a bit scared by this. The majority of people are bearing with us and we’ll have it sorted by the end of January.”

A spokeswoman for the FSA said the it would not comment on individual companies or Mr Pitt’s complaint.

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