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Sign of the times: Town’s credit union buys the bank

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Bantry Credit Union chairperson Eddie Mullins and Finbarr O’Shea with the credit union and former bank building in the background. Photo: John Allen/Provision

Bantry Credit Union chairperson Eddie Mullins and Finbarr O’Shea with the credit union and former bank building in the background. Photo: John Allen/Provision

Bantry Credit Union chairperson Eddie Mullins and Finbarr O’Shea with the credit union and former bank building in the background. Photo: John Allen/Provision

A credit union has bought a bank.

In a move seen as a sign of the times, Bantry Credit Union in Cork has snapped up the Bank of Ireland branch building in the town.

The building has been empty since last year when the bank shut down after half a century in the picturesque seaside town.

The former bank premises is next door to the existing credit union premises.

Now the 13,000-member lender is to move into the historic old bank building.

And the credit union has promised to restore an ATM service that was lost when the bank closed.

The first governor general of the Irish Free State, Tim Healy, was born in the building.

Finbarr O’Shea, chief executive of Bantry Credit Union, said: “The little shop next door is buying the bank. And we are putting back an ATM that the departing bank took away when it closed.”

He said the credit union needed a larger premises to cope with an expanding level of services for its members.

The lender has €90m in assets and has expanded its range of services to include online and mobile account access, debit card payments and SME lending.

Mr O’Shea said €400,000 was paid for the premises that went on the market in March with a guide price of €280,000.

“The key value to us is that our new premises is right next door. This will allow us to expand our range of services and provide our members with greater comfort and consultation rooms,” he said.

The purchase of the building was a big step, he added.

“But it was also a no-brainer. And our board of directors firmly believed it was a sound business decision.”

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It is not the first time a credit union has taken over a former bank branch, but it is highly unusual.


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