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Members of credit union angry over merger

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Members of a Dublin credit union have expressed anger that they were not consulted about plans to merge it with a larger entity.

Marino members also say they fear a valuable building owned by the credit union will be sold when the link-up with Member First and Ayrfield goes through.

The Griffith Avenue building is on a big site in an area of north Dublin where houses can sell for up to €1m.

Member Georgina Dowling said Marino members were also annoyed that a promise to keep them informed ahead of any merger plans being discussed has not been kept.

A commitment was given to "keep members fully informed" of any merger plans, according to the 2018 annual report.

However, the boards of Marino and nearby Ayrfield and Member First have already passed resolutions to complete a three-way tie-up.

Ms Dowling claims members were told after these resolutions were passed. They have since been told they will not get to vote on the link-up.

She said there was also concern that the tie-up would mean Marino members losing their loan protection insurance, which sees any loans cleared when a member dies.

The merger is effectively a take-over by Member First of the two smaller lenders.

Member First was created from the merger of Coolock-Artane and Swords. It also took over credit unions in Raheny, Beaumont and Donnycarney. It has 77,000 members and assets of €273m.

Asked about allegations that credit union members have not been consulted about the merger, a spokesperson for Member First chief executive Fiona Cunningham said the tie-up was being completed by way of board resolution, rather than special general meeting, where members would get to vote.

This approach was taken at the request of the Central Bank, the spokesperson said.

They added that Ms Cunningham had given a commitment to retain the Griffith Avenue premises for at least three years. A commitment was also given that existing Marino members would keep their loan protection cover after the merger.

Irish Independent