Thursday 29 June 2017

Members turn up demanding their savings at scandal-hit credit union

A representative of the liquidator speaks to concerned members at the now closed Rush Credit Union. Photo: Gerry Mooney
A representative of the liquidator speaks to concerned members at the now closed Rush Credit Union. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

Angry members of Rush Credit Union have turned up at its door demanding their savings back.

The High Court appointed a liquidator to the credit union this week following a crisis involving alleged misappropriation and suspected money laundering.

Rush Credit Union was established in 1972 and has about 11,457 members, with savings worth €24m.

It emerged this week that the credit union has serious financial issues and it would cost millions of euro to stabilise it.

It is believed around €1.5m has gone missing, the credit union's safe was being used to stash money from the taxman, and what is suspected to have been a rigged car draw was won by a senior credit union staff member.

Credit union member Paddy Wilde (75) said what happened at the lender "is an absolute disgrace". "It's going to be a sad Christmas for the workers in there who are left high and dry. People want their savings back," Mr Wilde said. "It's very sad for Rush. Now we have no financial institution apart from a post office, and no Garda station. It's a one-horse town now."

The High Court this week heard the credit union is in a distressed state, with net liabilities over assets of some €2m and has minus 8.7pc reserves, which will require it to be funded to the tune of €4.73m.

Liquidators Jim Luby and Tom Rogers have powers to repay deposits within 21 days, which are guaranteed under the State's Deposit Guarantee Scheme, which guarantees savings of up to €100,000.

Representatives of the liquidators spoke briefly to Rush Credit Union members yesterday at the business and told them their savings (up to €100,000) were covered and would be refunded in two to three weeks.

A sign at the credit union yesterday read: "The credit union is closed until further notice."

Yesterday morning, a small crowd gathered outside the building seeking answers to many questions.

One irate member kept her finger on the bell until one of the liquidators answered it and assured the members that they would have their savings refunded within two to three weeks. Miriam Murray (62) said members had been let down by the lender.

Guaranteed

"We have been told our savings are guaranteed, but we still have our doubts," she said.

"If there are arrears on loans they will be deducted from savings, and we're told the office will open again for people to pay back loans, but I can't see many queueing up to do that.

"My father Jim Andrews helped set up the credit union in the 1970s. He had book number 1. It was all very simple back then - but look at how it has turned out now."

Miriam's husband, Declan (61), said the car draw was a strange occurrence.

"It seems people were automatically enrolled into it and had money deducted," he said.

"You had to opt out of it rather than opt in, so a lot of people were in without knowing. Now they're calling it the 'Fr Ted car draw'. [It's] a disgrace."

Irish Independent

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