Kerry-based plan could transform entire Credit Union sector


Simon Brouder

In a deal that has the potential to transform the entire Credit Union sector Cara and Killarney Credit Union have teamed up with Killorglin based financial technology firm Fexco to launch a new joint venture.

Cara Credit Union and Killarney Credit Union are two of 16 of Ireland's largest credit unions who have announced a €10 million collaboration with Fexco to form of a new joint venture to be named Metamo.

The concept of Metamo is to support the sustainability of credit unions by helping them offer a greater and more modernised array of financial products including enhanced lending capabilities.  

Metamo will also see Fexco and working together to develop more efficient operating systems in areas including process improvement, risk management and technology delivery.

MetaCU - the new entity comprising the 16 credit unions investing in Metamo - will represent over 480,000 members across the country - including Cara Credit Union's 43,000 members and the 34,000 members from Killarney Credit Union - with combined assets of over €3 billion. 

CEO of Killarney Credit Union Mark Murphy said the announcement was an exciting day for the sector. 

"I am convinced that this joint venture will allow us to provide an improved service and set of products to our members in South Kerry. We are delighted to work with our neighbouring credit union, Cara Credit Union on the Metamo venture," he said.

CEO of Cara Credit Union Pa Laide said the collaboration deal with Fexco is an "important milestone" for Cara Credit Union and its members in Tralee, Castleisland and Killorglin.

"This joint venture is particularly significant for Cara Credit Union as not only is Fexco based within our common bond in Killorglin but they are the world leader in innovative Fintech, Payments and Business Solutions," said Mr Laide. 

"From a members' prospective nothing will change, we are still independently owned and managed locally by our members. But by working together with Fexco and credit unions, these shared services will bring us closer to becoming the primary provider of financial services to all our members," Mr Laide said. 

The initial focus of the venture is on collaboration between Fexco and the investing credit unions to identify and develop products and solutions required by members.

Metamo will offer these solutions to all other credit unions in the country who are not part of the joint venture in order to sustain the continued development of the sector.

Chairperson of MetaCU Joe O'Toole  - the entity comprising the 16 credit unions investing in Metamo - said Metamo signals a new and exciting development in the financial services industry. 

"The company will deliver new income streams and improved processes for the investing credit unions and has the potential to transform the entire sector," he said.

"We identified Fexco as our partner based on their familiarity with the sector, having provided foreign exchange services to credit unions for over 20 years. In addition, we will benefit from Fexco's technical expertise and commercial delivery focus. For Metamo, Fexco is a natural fit," Mr O'Toole said.

"The multi-million euro investment by the credit unions and Fexco in the establishment of Metamo is a significant vote of confidence in the future of these credit unions."

CEO of Fexco Denis McCarthy said Metamo will allows Fexco to leverage two of its key strengths; strategic investment and new product development. 

"Like the credit unions, Fexco understands the value of supporting local communities. We enjoy a longstanding relationship with the credit union sector in Ireland having provided foreign exchange services to them for over two decades," said Mr McCarthy. 

Metamo will be based in Kerry with offices in Dublin. The company is currently actively recruiting its senior management team having appointed Neil Hosty as CEO in 2019. Mr Hosty has over 20 years' experience in the financial services sector and has held various senior executive positions in the Irish and US banking sectors.