Friday 15 December 2017

Credit union secures €108,000 judgment

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

NEWBRIDGE Credit Union, which had a special manager appointed to run it by the High Court in January, got a court judgment of €108,000 against a member last month.

The judgment was the highest awarded to a credit union in April and demonstrated the determination of special manager Luke Charleton, of Ernst & Young, to fix the finances of the credit union.

The special manager is overseeing the day-to-day running of the Co Kildare credit union.

Central Bank regulators took the action to have the special manager appointed to protect member savings.

The legal move by Newbridge Credit Union came as under-pressure community lenders have stepped up their efforts to get loans repaid by taking more members to court, new figures show.

Some 68 court actions were taken by credit unions last month as they took an increasingly heavy-handed approach to those who won't pay.

Usually, credit unions only take court action when people refuse to co-operate with them.

The arrears of the State's 407 credit unions have now risen to €1bn and the latest figures from 'Stubbs Gazette' show that credit unions continue to top the list of those securing registered judgments.

Derg Credit Union, in Killaloe, Co Clare, was the most active litigant, taking 15 actions against members who it regarded as having failed to co-operate to repay loans.

The total value of the bad debt owed to Derg Credit Union was €152,000, according to 'Stubbs Gazette'.

Credit union lenders were traditionally reluctant to take legal action against borrowers but lately they have turned to the courts to get money back if they feel they've no other option.

Pressure

Credit unions are understood to be under huge pressure from regulators to recover debts because a surge in arrears and bad debts is raising major questions over the viability of some credit unions.

If someone fails to pay a debt, their creditor can go to court and get a court judgment confirming the money is owed.

The creditor can then enforce the judgment by having goods seized or getting the court to put in place an instalment order where a certain amount of money has to be paid back weekly to the creditor.

Registering the judgment in the High Court Central Office means the details will be published in a trade gazette.

The judgment can also be registered as a mortgage over the debtor's property.

The Revenue Commissioners registered the most judgments last month, with 140 cases taken in a bid to recover a total of €27m in debt owed to the tax authorities.

Anthony Cafferkey, of Rockingham Park, Maynooth Road, Leixlip, Co Kildare, had the largest judgment at €21.6m.

However, the number of judgments registered against people in April fell to 459, a drop of 37pc on the same month last year.

The total value of the judgments last month was also down, to €41m, according to BusinessPro/'Stubbs Gazette'.

Irish Independent

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