The old Naas Credit Union, now known as Life
A book charting the history of Naas Credit Union has been published and explores the development and growth of the credit union in that town.
Naas Credit Union is, officially, no more and is now Life Credit Union (with the opening of offices in Maynooth and Newbridge as well as one at Monread shopping centre, Naas).
The book is called Life Credit Union: 50 Years A-Growing and subtitled From Biscuit tins to ATMS (which is reference to the fact that a biscuit tin was used to hold the money when the credit union was launched in 1968). It was produced by historians Stan Hickey and Paddy Behan with Julie Thornton, Sean Murray and Peter O’Neill of the credit union.
The group's first annual meeting took place the year following its launch by which time savings had exceeded £1,000 (€1,270) while loans amounted to £973.
The first major problem it encountered was the bank staff strike of 1970 and local businessman Eddie Marum agreed to accept their funds for safe keeping on Friday nights.
A lease on an upstairs premises, known as Mrs. Healy’s at 19 North Main Street, was bought in June 1971 and an office opened in 1972, having been fitted out at a cost of 150.
The common bond, or the area covered by Naas CU was extended in 1972 to take in Kill, Caragh, Eadestown, Sallins and Ballymore Eustace, where the CU maintained a Friday evening opening from the mid-1990s until June 2016.
Naas CU entered the era of high technology, by the standards of the time, with the purchase of an office clock and a telephone in 1976 — the year the annual report was presented in booklet form for the first time.
In 1979 it opened for four days a week with John Everan as the first manager, and in 1981 the office opened for five days a week, a second full-time staff member was employed and the 32 North Main Street premises was bought for £48,000.
Members’ savings reached £1m for the first time and the first computer was bought to hold the account details of 4,000 members By 1988, savings had reached £2m and the office opened for six days a week with the cessation of Friday night opening for security reasons.
Marum’s pub at 20 North Main Street was bought for £180,000 in order to build a completely new office at the current location and the pub licence was sold.
The new office was opened by President Mary Robinson in 1994. The building next door was bought and the business moved to Sallins Road in 1999 to allow building work on the new office to proceed.
The ATM opened in 2007, a year after Sean Murray was appointed manager and services continued to expand. The branch office at Monread opened in 2013.