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Saturday, 01 November 2014

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Millom savers regain access to cash

FRUSTRATED savers in Millom can finally access their money after the government lifted its suspension on a credit union.

The Millom and District Credit Union, in Market Square, was suspended by the Financial Services Authority last December from lending or allowing members access to their savings, as a penalty for being late with its accounts.

The credit union, which has more than 960 members, was told in January that the suspension could have been in place for another two months until a Financial Services Review was carried out.

On Tuesday, however, chairwoman Tess Fitzwilliam confirmed the union was open for business again. She said: “We had some of our accounts suspended by the FSA until we could manage to convince them our accounts were late just because of a glitch in our audit system.

“We have been reinstated as of one o’clock today (Tuesday).”

Robin Pitt, a saver at the credit union, said: “I heard the news on Tuesday and I’m absolutely delighted.”

Mr Pitt was unable to access his savings over the Christmas period and said he was unable to lend money to a friend in need of help to pay his mortgage.

“I’m still quite annoyed with what the FSA did,” he said. “They took a very high-handed and draconian approach, which hit savers hard.”

After appealing to an independent review panel, the credit union had been given until the end of January by the FSA to submit the correct accounts for the last three months of 2010.

Mrs Fitzwilliam, of Haverigg, said the credit union took on a new computer system to become more efficient, but there were complications which left the final three months’ accounts “tangled”.

Mrs Fitzwilliam previously expressed disappointment at the FSA’s actions.

She said the accounts for the first nine months were labelled “excellent” by the FSA and felt the authority could have been more flexible given that the credit union has had no problems in its 17-year history.

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