Friday 27 March 2015

Blow to merger plans at credit unions

Published 21/08/2014 | 02:30

Kieron Brennan stood down some weeks ago
Kieron Brennan stood down some weeks ago

PLANS to restructure the credit union network have received a blow with the departure of the head of the new body set up to help them merge.

The resignation of Donal Coghlan comes just a year after he took up the job.

A former credit union manager and a former regulator for the sector with the Central Bank, Mr Coghlan moved into his role as chief executive of the Credit Union Restructuring Board (ReBo) in June 2013.

ReBo was set up by the Government to facilitate the voluntary mergers of credit unions to create stronger units. It will have a budget of up to €500m to do this.

The board was established in January 2013 and is expected to be finished its work by the end of next year.

Mr Coghlan has left to take up a role as Le Cheile group, a private sector group that offers financial, consultancy and debit card services to credit unions.

His resignation comes just weeks after the head of the League of Credit Unions, the representative body for the local lenders, Kieron Brennan, stood down.

The new regulator for the sector, Anne Marie McKiernan, who is based at the Central Bank, will not take up her new role as registrar of credit unions until next month.

Restructuring

She replaces Sharon Donnery, who was named as the authority's new director of credit institutions in March.

The Department of Finance said John Doyle, who has been head of restructuring at ReBo since last October, will replace Mr Coghlan as interim chief executive from next month.

Martina Brennan, who is currently senior restructuring manager, will take over as interim head of restructuring.

Chairman of ReBo Bobby McVeigh denied that the work of the board would be interrupted. "We are confident that John Doyle, as interim chief executive, will build on those achievements and keep ReBo on its path to facilitating a stable and viable future for the credit union movement."

Already this year, 12 credit unions have combined to create five new entities.

There are currently 133 credit unions looking at mergers that could create 56 new combined entities with a total asset size of over €5bn, according to a spokesman for ReBo.

Another four projects which will come from combining 10 credit unions were approved at a ReBo board meeting this week.

Irish Independent

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