Thursday 8 December 2016

Credit union services return to area after 9,700 get State refund

Published 11/11/2016 | 02:30

Rush Credit Union was placed into provisional liquidation last week following an application by the Central Bank. Photo: Mark Condren
Rush Credit Union was placed into provisional liquidation last week following an application by the Central Bank. Photo: Mark Condren

Credit union services are set to be restored to the North County Dublin towns of Rush and Lusk, after a liquidator was appointed to shut down the lender there.

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Rush Credit Union was placed into provisional liquidation last week following an application by the Central Bank.

It had around 11,457 members with savings worth €24m.

Cheques repaying the savings to members went out yesterday, under the terms of the State Deposit Guarantee Scheme.

The cheques went out to around 9,700 members of Rush Credit Union, the Central Bank said.

The total amount of compensation paid to date amounts to €22.3m, representing 98pc of deposits covered by the Deposit Guarantee Scheme.

The High Court was told last week the collapse of Rush Credit Union was likely to lead to prosecutions over suspicions of fraud.

Serious deficiencies were found in relation to a number of matters including control of cash, lending practices, and day-to-day running of the credit union.

And there were even questions around how car draws were conducted. Every member entered into the draws - many of whom did not give permission for this - has had money returned to them after a senior staff member won some of the cars.

The credit union's safe was being used to stash money to keep it away from the taxman. Deeds to foreign properties were discovered in the safe, with uncertainty about who owns the properties.

Shocked locals were annoyed at the closure of the lender this week, with the doors locked in both offices, and ATMs shut down. Now members of neighbouring Progressive Credit Union have voted to extend its reach into the towns.

The rule change has been registered by the Central Bank, officially clearing the way for it to do business in the area.

Manager of Progressive Sean Staunton said his credit union had been "inundated" with requests for membership from members of Rush Credit Union.

He said Progressive has expressed an interest in buying the loan book of the bust credit union, which was understood to have been valued at €10m during the summer. It also aims to buy one of the two offices of the insolvent lender.

"We have expressed an interest in purchasing the Rush building as well, but we must wait until the formal appointment as liquidators on November 21 before any decision is made," he said.

Progressive Credit Union has reported a strong financial performance for 2016 with a surplus for the year of €1.7m and total assets now standing at €142m. It has total reserves of €19.6m - well in excess of the minimum regulatory requirement.

Progressive Credit Union has total membership of 45,416 and comprises six north Dublin credit unions including the former Balbriggan, Baldoyle-Portmarnock, Donabate, Glasnevin, Howth-Sutton, Skerries and Swords-Rivervalley unions.

Irish Independent

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