Bert Mullen was a painter & decorator who lived with his wife Alice and their family, in one of Glasgow’s new housing schemes, Drumchapel, which had been built in the early 1960’s as part of what seemed a courageous vision to remove the blot of urban slums from the centre of the city.
Providing housing was the chief priority of the time but insufficient consideration was afforded to the provision of facilities for this new population and Bert and his friends, the McSevneys, were very conscious that there were no affordable, financial services available to the working-class residents of their community.
Bert soon learned of credit unions and the exceptional impact that it was having on the lives of ordinary people through his Irish relatives. Convinced that it could work for the good of the community in Drumchapel, he contacted the Irish League of Credit Unions, the World Council of Credit Unions and anybody else who would listen to him.
Western Credit Union (later to become Drumchapel Credit Union) was launched in February 1970. Over the following months and years, Bert’s encouragement and inspiration to others saw the launch of many more Credit Unions all across Scotland. At the point of his untimely death in 1986 - which as a loss to the whole of the Scottish Credit Union movement - there were 130 Credit Unions operating in Scotland.
Fast-forward to 2017 and Berts legacy lives on through the 100 Credit Unions, serving around 330,000 members with collective savings of around £500 million and providing around £283 million of affordable credit.