Fourth credit union reports employee after feared theft
A fourth credit union has been rocked by a staff member suspected of raiding accounts.
One of the biggest credit unions in the State, St Anthony's & Claddagh in Co Galway, has dismissed a staff member and reported a suspected theft to gardaí.
The credit union has 43,000 members and assets of €200m.
Some €87,000 was missing from 31 accounts, the chief executive of the Galway lender, Gerry Joyce, said in a statement.
"In August 2016, internal processes at St Anthony's & Claddagh Credit Union identified and successfully dealt with an incident involving unauthorised transactions on members' accounts," he said.
As soon as the issue came to light, the credit union took immediate action.
Affected members have been contacted and the money was refunded to their accounts immediately, ensuring that there was no loss to the member, Mr Joyce said.
"The relevant information has been supplied to An Garda Síochána, which is continuing with its investigation," he said.
The Central Bank of Ireland was also informed and the credit union's insurance company covered the payout.
This meant the credit union's costs were fully covered with no additional cost to it or any of the members, it said.
"Following a full review and investigation into the incident, some amendments were made to our internal processes which we continue to keep under review," Mr Joyce said.
The credit union employs 45 people and has 22 volunteers.
Earlier this week, Gurranabraher Credit Union in Co Cork lost €200,000 and will now have to make an insurance claim to refund members.
It comes after a similar suspected crime at Synergy Credit Union in Fermoy, Cork, which suffered a €400,000 loss.
The incidents were reported to gardaí at both Cork credit unions.
Recently, Rush Credit Union, Co Dublin, was shut down after a series of fraudulent activities were discovered.
Some €1.3m has been set aside to cover the cost of that fraud at the lender.
The High Court was told that car draws at the credit union were rigged.
Asked for a statement about St Anthony's & Claddagh, the Central Bank said it is aware of a number of irregular transactions in this credit union that date back to last year.
Credit unions have only recently started to carry out intensive internal audits, a move which is flushing out insider theft.
One senior credit union expert said this meant there will be more uncovering of insider theft, something that is likely to have been going on for years.