Some banks "replacing people with machines" - Kildare Credit union

Senan Hogan

Reporter:

Senan Hogan

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Kildare Credit Union

Kildare Credit Union has accused some banks of "turning their backs on our communities and replacing people with machines".

The 53rd Annual General Meeting of Kildare Credit Union, held virtually for the first time due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will hear this week that the Credit Union is in a strong and viable position despite a very difficult year.

The address of chairperson Seamus McDonnell, which was circulated to members in advance, said that many members were nervous about borrowing due to the uncertainty of the future.

He also noted that although some mainstream banks were withdrawing branches, Credit Union services would continue to serve the community.

He said: "The Covid-19 pandemic brought many challenges to everyone’s lives and the safety and wellbeing of the membership and staff has been a key priority. 2020 was also a year where the credit union saw unprecedented growth in savings and a decline in the loan book.

"Members are nervous about borrowing in these times, whilst many can save more as the lockdown closed most retail businesses.

"Despite these challenges, the credit union generated a surplus of €524,920 after transfers were made to reserves to maintain the regulatory reserve at 12.7% of total assets.

"This has been achieved with the support of the membership and the hard work and dedication of my fellow directors, management, and staff."

Mr McDonnell said that the board of directors made the difficult decision not to recommend a dividend on savings or an interest rebate on loans for the year ended 30th September 2020.

He explained: "The decision was made to maintain strong reserves in a time when the Covd-19 virus is still high within our community and it will take time for the real impact of the pandemic to be measured."

Setting out the Credit Union's advantages over banks, Mr McDonnell added: "In a time when other financial institutions are turning their backs on our communities and replacing people with machines, be assured that the service to members that Kildare Credit Union prides itself on will continue."