Two Leinster credit unions are eying up a merger which will create one of the country’s largest community lenders if the deal is given the green light by the Central Bank.
St Canice’s Credit Union in Kilkenny and Bagenalstown Credit Union in Carlow, have now passed special resolutions for a merger, in a move which will create a “stronger, more efficient credit union which can provide enhanced loan and saving facilities”. Following the approval, a formal application has been lodged with the Registrar of credit unions at the Central Bank.
Eamonn Mc Ardle, chairman of the board of St Canice’s Credit Union, said: “This combination is an extremely positive move for members of our credit unions.It makes perfect sense not only from a financial and member service perspective but also an administrative one in the current regulatory environment.”
St. Canice’s is one of the largest community based credit unions in Ireland, with membership in excess of 57,000, while Bagenalstown, which was founded in 1970, has over 7,700 members. If approval by the regulator is given for the merger, the new entity will have more than 60,000 members and assets of some € 400 million, which will position it as one of the country’s largest. With assets of more than €400 million, St Raphael’s Garda Credit Union is considered to be the largest credit union in the country.
It is expected that the merger will allow for a broader range of services to be offered to members of both credit unions, including mortgages, agri loans, debit/ATM card , online banking and cheaper loans. While St Canice’s currently offers short-term loans under the “It makes sense” initiative for example, Bagenalstown does not.
The credit union sector has seen a number of mergers in recent years; some driven by the need to shore up a weaker neighbour, and others to strengthen the two or more entities and broaden the services available to the local commuity.
Last year three Dublin credit unions – Capital, Francis Street and St Kevin’s – came together to form a new credit union with 48,000 members, to create one of the largest top 10 community credit unions in the country.