Representatives from Larne Credit Union recently joined more than 2,000 delegates from Credit Unions across Ireland at the 2014 AGM of the Irish League of Credit Unions at the Waterfront Hall, Belfast.
Attendees heard that credit unions in Northern Ireland continue to perform well in a struggling economy, as highlighted in the Irish League of Credit Unions ’2013 financial summary for the province’s credit unions.
In the past 12 months, credit unions in Northern Ireland have provided £449million in loans to their membership. This was an increase of 3% on year-end figures from 2012. Membership has increased by 13,000 in the same period, bringing the total number of members to 425,000 members across the six counties. In addition, savings increased significantly to £965 million.
Speaking from the Waterfront Hall, Larne Credit Union Ltd’ representative, Arlene Clements, said: “Larne Credit Union are delighted to join our colleagues to hear how our movement is flourishing in Northern Ireland, and engage in key strategic planning for our future. Certainly, our own credit union, which has been serving the local community since 1973, has seen a demand in services from our members, and the need for affordable credit has perhaps never been greater.
““At a time when many other financial institutions may have lost some of their lustre for the public, the credit union ethos is both relevant and attractive.
““Over the decades we have remained true to the concept of mutuality, providing essential financial services to everyone regardless of their class, creed or income level. Because each credit union is run by its own members, solely for members’ benefit, we are building social capital within our communities.
“As we continue to build membership and respond to the demands of existing members to expand and develop credit union services, we see huge opportunity for growth.””
“In Northern Ireland, the demand for our services has grown across the board in 2013, highlighting the relevance and importance of the movement in the province. And with discussions continuing with the NI Assembly, to see how we can further proposals outlined in the unanimously supported motion to the Assembly earlier this year, which called for Government to financially support an expansion of services provided by credit unions, there is significant opportunity on the horizon for credit unions and their members.