Kilkenny and Carlow credit unions plan merger

New entity with assets of about €400 million would pave way for broader range of services

St Canice’s Credit Union in Kilkenny and Bagenalstown Credit Union in Carlow have passed special resolutions for a merger. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

St Canice’s Credit Union in Kilkenny and Bagenalstown Credit Union in Carlow have passed special resolutions for a merger. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

 

Two Leinster credit unions are eying up a merger that would create one of the country’s largest such lenders if the deal is given the green light by the Central Bank of Ireland.

St Canice’s Credit Union in Kilkenny and Bagenalstown Credit Union in Carlow have passed special resolutions for a merger, in a move that would create a “stronger, more efficient credit union which can provide enhanced loan and saving facilities”. A formal application has been lodged with the registrar of credit unions at the Central Bank.

Eamonn McArdle, chairman of the board of St Canice’s Credit Union, said: “This combination is an extremely positive move for members of our credit unions. It makes perfect sense not only from a financial and member service perspective but also an administrative one in the current regulatory environment.”

St Canice’s is one of the largest credit unions in Ireland, with membership in excess of 57,000, while Bagenalstown, which was founded in 1970, has more than 7,700 members.

If approval is granted, the merged entity would have more than 60,000 members and assets of some € 400 million, positioning it as one of the country’s largest.

St Raphael’s Garda Credit Union is currently considered to be the largest credit union in the country with assets in excess of €400 million.

Offices

The new entity is expected to have offices in High Street, McDonagh Junction, Dunnamaggin, Durrow, Ballyragget, Mountrath, Rathdowney, Graiguenamanagh, Callan, Bagenalstown and Ballingarry.

The merger would allow for a broader range of services to be offered to members of both credit unions, including mortgages, agri loans, debit/ATM cards, online banking and cheaper loans. While St Canice’s currently offers short-term loans under the “It makes sense” sectoral initiative, for example, Bagenalstown does not.

The credit union sector has seen a number of mergers in recent years, some driven by the need to shore up a weaker neighbour, and others to strengthen the entities and broaden the services available to the local community.

Last year, three Dublin credit unions – Capital, Francis Street and St Kevin’s – came together to form a new entity with 48,000 members.