Credit union 'had clean bill of health before bank took control'
CAMPAIGNERS trying to stop their credit union being merged with another lender claim it was given a clean bill of health just months before the Central Bank took control of it.
Members of Newbridge Credit Union, who oppose its merger with Naas, said auditors approved its accounts three months before a special manager was appointed to run it last year.
A copy of the draft accounts, seen by this newspaper, show they were prepared by Grant Thornton and signed by three of directors of the credit union.
However, the accounts were never published as no annual meeting was held after the Central Bank got the High Court to appoint special manager Luke Charleton of Ernst & Young to Newbridge in January, 2012.
Campaigners claim the draft accounts were submitted to the registrar for credit unions in the Central Bank.
Members of the Save Newbridge Credit Union group claim the registrar forced the credit union to bump up its reserves from €25m to €41m.
They claim when this extra €16m was taken from the credit union's reserve fund, it reduced its regulatory reserves to below what they should be under Central Bank rules.
This fall in the regulatory reserve cleared the way for the appointment of the special manager, the campaigners claim.
A spokesman for the Central Bank said: "We can't comment on the figures presented but it is important to note that no figures for 2011 were finalised, so the figures which are being referred to are not finalised figures."