Pandemic puts pressure on Credit Unions

LETTERKENNY Credit Union is to review its savings threshold following a surge in household lodgements during the pandemic.

Member savings increased by €8.8 million in 2020 as people found themselves with more money in their pocket than at any time in recent history.

As a result of the rush Letterkenny Credit Union is now classified for the first time as ‘Tier One’ – a Credit Union with assets of over €100 million.


And while the surfeit is being greeted as a signal of members’ faith in the institution, it has also placed significant pressure on the Credit Union’s capital reserves.

So much so that board members are to revisit the savings threshold which currently stands at €30,000.

The branch held its annual meeting on Thursday and chairperson Ciaran Haran told members just how important their borrowing is.

“Our main source of income is interest on loans, this income is what funds the whole operation,” Mr Haran said in his annual report.

Chairperson Ciaran Haran urged members that if they are borrowing, then borrow from the Credit Union.

“There are challenges ahead in trying to remain profitable and the message to members is simple. If you are borrowing, borrow from your Credit Union. If you have loans elsewhere, consider a refinance with Letterkenny Credit Union.”

Letterkenny Credit Union’s CEO, Gordon Randles, said 2020 had been a “very unusual year”.


He said one notable development had been the ability of members to adapt to online banking in the absence of traditional face-to-face contact.

Praising their resilience he said, “A lot of people educated themselves on how to deal with the financial institutions and we were no different.”

In a further bid to adjust to the ‘new normal’ created by the pandemic, Letterkenny Credit Union has developed its own App. Available from the App Store and Google Play, it enables members to have 24/7 access to their accounts, make online loan applications and communicate directly with staff.

Gordon Randles added that he wanted to thank the board of Letterkenny Credit Union for increasing its investment which allowed the app and other digital channels to be opened up to members.

Mr Randles used the AGM to compliment staff for their “brilliant commitment and dedication” throughout the Covid crisis.

“We were delighted to be in a position to provide a constant and regular service to our loyal members throughout the year.

“We also appreciate the very challenging times that all our members have faced during the past year and we hope that Letterkenny Credit Union has provided its support to our members and our community at large.”

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