Galway credit unions merge to create entity with €260m in assets

Glenamaddy Credit Union merges with St Jarlath’s in first step of wider consolidation

Glenamaddy Credit Union will amalgamate its operations with St Jarlath’s next month.  Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Glenamaddy Credit Union will amalgamate its operations with St Jarlath’s next month. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

 

Two credit unions in Galway have merged in the first step of a wider consolidation in the region that will create an entity with about €500 million in assets.

Glenamaddy Credit Union in east Galway has merged into the considerably larger St Jarlath’s Credit Union in a move to create an entity with combined assets of about €260 million.

This is a prelude to a much larger consolidation in the region, which will see St Jarlath’s merge with St Anthony’s and Claddagh Credit Union next year to create an entity with about €500 million in assets, pending members’ approval.

In the near term, Glenamaddy will amalgamate its operations with St Jarlath’s next month. Glenamaddy has three branches with 5,000 members, €27 million in assets and eight staff, while St Jarlath’s has eight branches across north Galway with 50,000 members, €233 million in assets and 55 staff.

St Jarlath’s Credit Union chief executive John Doyle noted that Glenamaddy had approached it about 18 months ago seeking to merge to ensure that its members could access a wider range of services. “To offer a fully functional current account you need to have €75 million in assets under Central Bank rules,” Mr Doyle noted.

“They’re over 50 years in existence and they’ve recognised the whole sector is changing dramatically and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for smaller credit unions to provide the products and services that a newer generation requires,” he told The Irish Times.

Alternative

The merger comes after St Jarlath’s announced plans last month to merge with St Anthony’s and Claddagh Credit Union, which has three branches. The move would lead to the creation of one of the biggest credit unions in the State with about 100,000 members.

“We want to provide a real alternative to the banking sector and provide all the products and services through a member-owned co-operative rather than through a plc. We will look to compete with all the mainstream banks,” said Mr Doyle. He noted that that deal will go to an annual general meeting in December so that the merger could be concluded by March or April of next year.

The deal between Glenamaddy and St Jarlath’s is subject to Central Bank approval.

“In a history of nearly 50 years, Glenamaddy Credit Union has always been progressive and proactive in ensuring what we feel is best for our members. To ensure that our members have the optimum services going forward . . . we have made the bold and courageous decision to merge with St Jarlath’s Credit Union,” said Pat McHugh, chairman of Glenamaddy Credit Union.