Newbridge Credit Union was given a clean bill of health by its auditors three months before the Special Manager was appointed in 2012.
The Leinster Leader has seen a draft copy of accounts for the credit union for 2011. They were prepared by Grant Thornton, and bear the signatures of three of directors of the Credit Union, but they were never approved or released.
The accounts have never been released to the public because no AGM has been held following the appointment of the Special Manager on January 13, 2012.
Instead, the Leinster Leader understands, the draft accounts were submitted to the office of the Regulator for Credit Unions, which insisted that provision for bad debts be increased from €25 million to over €41 million. This was to bring it in line with new regulatory rules that had been introduced. However, because this additional €16 million was taken from the credit union’s reserve fund, it reduced the reserves from a healthy 13.49% to 5.42% of assets.
Credit Unions must have a reserve fund of at least 10% of assets. Falling below that figure prompted the appointment of the Special Manager.
Grant Thornton, which has not commented to the Leinster Leader on the draft accounts, wrote in their conclusion that they stood over the accounts as being the case as of September 30, 2011.
They confirmed that they had received all the help necessary from the credit union and that in their opinion, “proper books of account have been kept by the Credit Union”.
The accounts were signed by Cormac Dunne, Ben Donnelly and Brid Nolan, treasurer, respectively chairman and supervisor of Newbridge Credit Union.
They say that at the time Newbridge Credit Union had total assets of almost €179 million, down €10 million from the previous year, and total liabilities of €152 million, down €12 million on the previous year’s figure of €164 million.
The Central Bank has refused to comment on the matter, saying that they cannot get into a discussion on figures.
However the Leinster Leader understands they were very anxious to know how the copy of the draft accounts came into the public domain.
Protest march on Credit Union - page 18 inside