'Your money is safe,' says CU
SHAREHOLDERS who turned up to the AGM of Wexford Credit Union were given reassurances by the board that their savings are safe, after a year in which no dividend was paid for the first time in the organisation's 48-year history, due to a disastrous investment in Anglo Irish Bank and an increase in bad debts due to the recession.
There was an air of resigned goodwill at the annual meeting which was attended by about 110 members, a smaller attendance than previous years. The Credit Union has a total of 33,000 members of whom 5,000 are children.
Wexford Credit Union lost €2.4 million on an investment with controversial Anglo Irish Bank which was nationalised in January 2009 . It also wrote off €2.2 million in bad debts due to the failure of people to meet loan repayments during the past year, although it will be pursuing the payment of these loans.
The Anglo loss was equivalent to the value of the total dividend that would have been paid out to shareholders. The fact that the Credit Union could not afford to pay a dividend this year was a source of huge disappointment to the board and to shareholders, according to the manager, Ultan Ryan.
At the AGM, some members expressed concern about the security of their savings. The issue was addressed by members of the board who reassured them that their savings are safe under an EU/Irish Government guarantee scheme.
A question was also asked about whether there are other potentially lossmaking bonds in the investment portfolio. An assurance was given that the Anglo Irish Bank investment was the only subordinate bond taken out by the Credit Union.
The Manager, Mr. Ryan said he felt that the lower attendance at the AGM this year was due to the fact that the Credit Union's annual financial report was well-aired in the local media and many of the questions which people might have wished to ask, had been addressed.
'Most people were aware of the situation. Also, the report that went out to shareholders outlined all matters in a very clear way.'
'People did express their disappointment at the counters over the last few weeks,' he added.