March 31st, 2018 witnessed the end of the first half of the credit union trading year. The year-end trading date remains the 30th September annually.
St. Colman’s has enjoyed a strong financial trading 6-month period, with total income and surplus ahead of projected levels. Total expenditure has remained at almost identical levels to the equivalent trading period last year.
The financials have been underpinned by very strong loan book growth for the first six months, of almost 10%, which implies an annualised rate of close to 20%. The figures are very pleasing especially when the strong growth of FY 2017 is recalled. In fact, loan book growth of over 31% has been achieved since the transfer of engagements of Ballinrobe credit union to St. Colman’s.
Growth has been achieved across all credit lines, including Personal, Commercial & Homeloan. Lending restraints as defined by S35 of the Credit Union Act 1997, as amended, will make it more difficult to maintain the high growth rates over the past 18 months. However, the Central Bank of Ireland is currently commencing a review of lending legislation for credit union and the appropriateness of the legislation for the sector in 2018.
St. Colman’s sincerely wishes to see significant changes to the current legislation and restraints in order that we may continue providing our diverse range of credit facilities to and for our members.
Products & Services – Online Banking
The rollout of online services (CU247) has been underway for the past three months, incorporating all aspects of online ‘banking’ as it does. There has been significant take-up of the service to date, which fully enables access 24 hours per day and 365 days per year.
We encourage all members to avail of the new service which fully compliments our in-office, over the counter member offering.
The credit union currently offers our online service free of charge despite the costs incurred in the provision and maintenance for our members. Services involving modern technology can be invariably expensive and complex to maintain. We will of course communicate well in advance to members should we propose to charge for the service in the future.
Products & Services – Current Accounts
We advised of our collaboration with four other large community credit unions and with the guidance of CUSOP (CUSOP Payments DAC t/a CUSOP) in our previous Ezine, with respect to our application to the Central Bank of Ireland, to be in a position to offer current accounts and debit cards to members.
St. Colman’s is delighted to inform we have received the required consent and approval to offer these further services. There is still much work to be completed before bringing these services on stream which include technology, risk management and testing to name but a few.
However, the reality is that by early 2019, members of St. Colman’s should be able to enjoy all the benefits of a fully-fledged current account in addition to full online banking, Debit cards and a relatively extensive range of credit facilities.
We are also working on the provision of yet further services to compliment existing and proposed as outlined above and will communicate these at a later stage when further developed.
St. Colman’s is very glad to report the receipt of a further Interim Dividend from the Special Liquidators of IBRC. The unexpected dividend arrived without warning on the morning after January’s AGM. The credit union is still owed relatively substantial funds in this respect, but it is reassuring to note the second Interim Dividend and the fact it was again in the amount of 25% owing to us.