The total amount of shares held by members in Larne Credit Union Limited has passed the £10m mark this month, it has emerged.
Set up in 1973 by a small number of people with only an accumulated savings of a couple of hundred pounds, Larne Credit Union has now grown to over 6,000 members, including 1,000 minor members (under the age of 16).
Every pound saved in the Credit Union buys one share and the members of a credit union are actually shareholders in a co-operative.
They own the Credit Union and appoint the directors and supervisors at Annual General Meetings to run the organisation for them.
A spokesperson for the local Credit Union branch said: “Those who run the organisation are all volunteers from among the membership and receive no pay for their efforts.
“As a shareholder, a member receives a share in any surplus generated by the Credit Union operation in proportion to his/her shareholding.
“The Credit Union makes loans to its members and charges a low rate of interest, so is able to meet running expenses and generate a surplus.
“Some of the surplus will be used to build up reserves within the Credit Union to ensure its viability, while the rest goes back to members in the form of dividends and a rebate on the interest they have paid on any loans that they may have.
“It is a relatively simple idea which has benefitted many of the people in the area the Credit Union serves which stretches from Waterfoot in the north to Whitehead in the south, roughly the area covered by the Larne Borough Council when it existed.
“Membership is open to all and as our members will testify, beneficial to all, as apart from savings and loans the Credit Union also insures the shares and loans of members at no direct cost to them and offers death benefit insurance.
“The directors, supervisors and staff of Larne Credit Union are justifiably proud of having achieved the £10m milestone and look forward to being of continuing service to their community through their work.”
Larne Credit Union is based at 31 Circular Road, with a sub-office on High Street in Carnlough.