FR. IGGY O'Donovan has described the Augustinian Penny Bank as 'a victim of its own success', and said it will be greatly missed by the order as well as all those who used it over its 37 year history.
The final payout will be made this week as security risks, cost effectiveness, adherence to charity law and overall financial supervision and governance meant time had to be called on the ' bank' after almost four decades.
'Unfortunately the Penny Bank has become a victim of its own success,' Fr. Iggy told the Drogheda Independent.
' Whilst the scheme has grown, the systems and demands for managing such a large operation have struggled to keep pace, and has been a very difficult and painful decision to close it.'
The scheme, which has helped thousands of Boynesiders save throughout the year for Christmas, has been part and parcel of Drogheda life since the late Fr. Jim Kiely started it, with the help of Martin Daly, in 1975.
' The Penny Bank could simply not have achieved the huge success it did were it not for the commitment and efforts of the five staff, the original volunteers, the thousands of savers and the hundreds of promoters,' added Fr. Iggy.
' The latter group in particular has been key to the Penny Bank's achievements, collecting money in various organisations around the town.'
'The gratitude of the entire Augustinian Community extends to all those who have contributed to the positive outcome of the Penny Bank during its lifetime. We thank you for your patience during this time of great change,' a statement said.
Such was the popularity of the scheme, queues could often stretch the length of Shop Street on payout days.
Three years ago, there was pandemonium in the Ulster Bank, West Street, when people tried to cash their cheques on the same day.
Regular savers were also going to miss the handy way to take the burden off Christmas spending.
'What I loved about it was you couldn't get at it during the year, and then you got a great big cheque at Christmas to spend,' said one woman.
Another agreed it will be sadly missed. 'I have been doing it for years, and it really did help take the stress out of Christmas,' she said. 'I was really hoping someone else would have been able to take it over. I don't know what I will do next year now.'