Members storm Newbridge credit union for answers

Protesters at Newbridge Credit Union on Friday morning, April 26.               Photo Tony Keane.
About 50 angry members of Newbridge Credit Union protested outside the office last Friday morning to demand a meeting with the Board of Directors and the special manager.

About 50 angry members of Newbridge Credit Union protested outside the office last Friday morning to demand a meeting with the Board of Directors and the special manager.

“Next Friday we will hand a letter into the special manager to request his and the Board of Directors presence at a meeting to be held in the Keadeen Hotel on Friday, May 10 at 8pm,” said organiser Jason Turner of local political party Tuas Nua.

“The credit union belongs to the members. An AGM could not be held for the past two years as the reserve was not there and we want to know why the reserve wasn’t there? There are rumours out there about lending to property developers but the credit union is not a [commerical] bank. The ball is in their court and I expect them to turn up to the meeting out of courtsey and respect for the members even if they can’t comply with an AGM.”

Luke Charleton of Ernst & Young was appointed to run Newbridge Credit Union in January 2012 because the credit unions regulatory reserves were below the required level and there were concerns about its financial position.

The protestors now want an AGM for members who claim to be left in the dark since the appointment of special manager, Luke Charleton, of Ernst & Young. No AGM has been held at the 37.000 strong credit union for two years and members have not received any dividends in that time either.

The mood on Friday was described as a mix between anger and concern as long-standing members, of up to 25 years, sought answers.

“People are angry at the lack of information,” Mr Turner added.

“A lot of the members have been with the credit union for the last 25 years and they are now saving for their funerals. One member, whose last two weeks of payments were not paid as her mother was on a life support machine, asked if the credit union would suspend the payments and she was told no. Her mother has since passed away.”

A spokesperson for Ernst & Young referred the issue to the Central Bank.

Meanwhile a spokesperson for the central bank, Nicola Faulkner, confirmed that the bank was aware of Fridays’s protest.

“The Central Bank is focused on achieving a solution that is in the best interest of Newbridge Credit Union members and their savings,” she said.

“We will consider any submissions received from credit union members.”

- Paula Campbell