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Largest credit union in State set to be created

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THE largest credit union in the country is set to be created from the merger of two West of Ireland lenders.

St Anthony’s & Claddagh Credit Union plans to link up with St Jarlath’s, both in Galway.

The two credit unions say members will be given a chance to vote on the proposal, once it is confirmed to be in line with regulatory and legislative requirements by the Central Bank.

The link-up will create a body with almost €450m in assets and around 100,000 members.

Between them, the credit unions have a total of 12 branches across Galway county and city.

The next largest credit union, by assets, is St Canice’s in Kilkenny, followed by the Health Services CU.

Chairperson of St Anthony’s & Claddagh Mark Grogan said the two Galway lenders have been collaborating on a number of initiatives in recent years.

He said a merger is the obvious way to enhance the strength and capacity of both organisations.

If approved, the merger would be likely to lead to an extended branch network and provide enhanced services to members, according to St Jarlath’s chief executive John Doyle.

The matter is likely to be considered for approval at the respective AGMs of both institutions later this year.

Kevin Johnson, CEO of the Credit Union Development Association (CUDA), a representative body, said combining the resources of two of the successful credit unions will create one of Ireland’s most significant credit union, which will be hugely beneficial for their members, local communities and Galway in general.

Meanwhile, the Irish League of Credit Unions, another representative body for the sector, has welcomed the inclusion of specific commitments to credit unions in the agreed Programme for Government.

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