Larne Credit Union is to use a national gathering of the movement next weekend to examine how it can continue meeting the needs of its members.
Volunteers and staff from the local office will join delegates from across Ireland at the annual meeting of the Irish League of Credit Unions in Killarney where the theme is ‘Members Matter Most. Co-operating in Change’.
It will be an opportunity for Larne Credit Union to see how those in other parts of Ireland are assisting members to meet their expenses and pay households bills.
Jim Long, president of Larne Credit Union said: “Like almost 500 other Credit Unions throughout the island we exist for the sole purpose of meeting the needs of our members and next weekend’s gathering will be an opportunity to re-affirm that value.
“2012 has important significance for our movement as we celebrate the United Nations-designated International Year of the Co-operative.
“The celebrations have given us an opportunity to take stock and examine new ways to assist members and to reach out to new people and get them involved.
“We know there are many more who we have yet to reach with our message,” he said.
“Earlier this year a survey by the Irish League of Credit Unions indicated that up to 120,000 people in Northern Ireland are running the risk of being trapped in a cycle of debt by using these high cost loans, with an estimated 10,000 people failing to meet repayments to pay-day loan firms.
“We want to encourage anyone in our community who is under financial pressure to come and speak to our trained staff and volunteers first and examine affordable options before resorting to high cost loans.
“At the weekend we will also have an opportunity to examine new services, technology advances as well exploring the growth of social media and see if they are suitable to support our work in the community.”