Newry Credit Union’s 50th AGM was held recently with the re-election of the organisation’s president. Liam Quinn, president of Newry Credit Union chose the start of his second year as president to reflect on the Credit Union’s achievements and to look to the challenges of the future. “Our recent AGM highlighted the strength of the Newry Credit Union,” said Mr Quinn. “In such challenging times when so many multi-national financial organisations are struggling, Newry Credit Union has been able to pay a dividend and interest rebate to members of £1.7m. The contribution that this makes not just to ordinary families but to our local economy is immeasurable. Newry Credit Union was established in 1963 to meet the financial needs of people who were not able to get traditional credit and instead had to resort to loan sharks and the local pawn shops. Since then some aspects of the Credit Union in Newry have changed beyond all recognition. There is now over £50m in savings and a loan book of over £30m in addition to a full time professional staff. Thankfully there are areas that have remained unchanged despite our growth, such as the loyalty of our members, the voluntary commitment of my fellow directors and the determination to provide all our members with a sympathetic and impartial service. Despite our successes we acknowledge that there are still challenges. It concerns me that the ‘credit crunch’ has seen many local people turn again to doorstop lenders and pay day loans. Door step lenders who are very prevalent within our community target areas where they perceive people are financially vulnerable, charging interest rates of up to 500 per cent. Payday loans are another growing problem. These are available through the internet and some shops that have set up in Newry. Some of these loans have an APR in excess of 2000 per cent and are again are targeted at the most financially vulnerable in society. I can’t emphasise enough to people that Newry Credit Union exists so that member of our community don’t get caught up in an endless spiral of debt and I would encourage our members to use our free money management advice service. Looking to the future we are delighted that from March 21 Newry Credit Union like all credit unions in Northern Ireland will be regulated by the Financial Services Authority. This change is significant as it formally brings Northern Ireland credit unions with in the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and will guarantee every penny of member’s savings. Ina addition it will open the door to us being able too provide further financial products such as ISAs to members. I am honoured to be serving as the 18th president of this great organisation and wish to express my gratitude to all our members for their continued loyalty and support. Newry Credit Union provides a unique service to our community and we continue to go from strength,” he added.
7th December 2011