Ex-Rush Credit Union official barred from senior financial roles

Central Bank issues prohibition notice to former union’s assistant manager

Rush Credit Union. Photograph: North County Leader

Rush Credit Union. Photograph: North County Leader

 

The Central Bank has barred the former assistant manager of Rush Credit Union, Geraldine Harford, from carrying out senior functions in a regulated financial entity for an indefinite period.

This follows an investigation into her involvement in “unauthorised transactions” at the former lender, which was put into liquidation last November with an estimated €2 million hole in its balance sheet.

Ms Harford, along with Rush Credit Union’s manager Anne Butterly, was suspended from her position on foot of a Central Bank investigation into alleged financial irregularities at the institution.

The Central Bank’s prohibition notice was issued under its Fitness and Probity Regime but the bank said it was constrained from disclosing further information pending a criminal investigation.

The credit union’s accounts from August 2016 reportedly indicated that €800,000 was the subject of alleged misappropriation. Forensic accountants hired by the Central Bank to look into Rush Credit Union were unable to track down winners of 15 car draws, involving an outlay of €220,860, between November 2012 and April 2016.

“This prohibition notice has been issued pursuant to the Central Bank’s fitness and probity regime following the Bank’s investigation into financial irregularities at Rush Credit Union,” Seana Cunningham, director of Enforcement and Anti-Money Laundering, said.

“The Central Bank’s fitness and probity regime is in place to ensure that individuals performing key roles in regulated financial services firms are competent and capable, and act honestly, ethically and with integrity,” she said.

“The prohibition of individuals for an indefinite period of time from performing specific roles in financial firms is the most serious outcome under the fitness and probity regime,” she added, noting this wa the fourth prohibition notice issued by the Central Bank since its introduction.

It is imperative that individuals in positions of responsibility in financial services firms are committed to and demonstrate the highest ethical standards of practice and behaviour,” Ms Cunningham said.