Above: Staff members Fiona O'Callaghan, Emma Griffin, Marie O'Leary (Manager), Noirín Brennan, Val O’Sullivan and Helena Patterson.
As the 50th anniversary of Clonakilty Credit Union approaches, its Board of Directors, management and staff have organised a fantastic cash prize draw to acknowledge and reward those that have made this milestone possible – the members. The Big Bonanza 50th Anniversary Draw has a top prize of €5,000, with a further five members walking away with €1,000. The winners will be drawn on October 6, as part of a special day of celebration.
Having first opened its doors on October 4, 1966, Clonakilty Credit Union has grown steadily over the years to now have over 9,000 active members using it for day-to-day banking, savings and loans.
“We wouldn’t be here today without the loyalty of our members,” says staff member Noirín Brennan. “The members are the focus of the anniversary celebrations. We want to give something back to them and that’s why we decided that a cash prize draw would be the best way to acknowledge that loyalty. Hopefully with €5,000 the lucky winner can buy something much needed or treat themselves to a fantastic holiday.”
Entry into the draw is free and open to all members over 18. To be included you just need to fill out a short questionnaire that is currently being posted out and return it to the Credit Union before September 16. “If for any reason you don’t receive a form, such as a recent change of address, please contact us,” says Noirín. “And of course, the draw will also be open to anybody who joins before September 16!”
Although governed by the Central Bank and overseen by the Irish League of Credit Unions, Clonakilty Credit Union is entirely run by its Board of Directors, which is made up of 11 local people. In actual fact, between the Board of Directors, Board Oversight Committee and various other committees, this credit union relies on over 20 volunteers who Noirín credits as the backbone of the organisation. “Its amazing that despite having full-time jobs and busy lives, they are so dedicated that they give up their time for continuous training to be completely up-to-date with regulations. It’s a massive commitment but it ensures the health of our credit union.”
The committee’s longest serving member is Kevin Mullen, who has given over 40 years of service to an organisation he clearly loves. “It seems like only yesterday that I became involved,” he says. “It’s a marvellous service; I wouldn’t have anything if it wasn’t for the Credit Union. Over the years, I myself have borrowed for things like my children’s education and, as with everyone, it’s been a helping hand to us as a family over the years.”
But Kevin is modest about his contribution, preferring praise to go to the staff. “They are at the frontline,” he says. “They are there to meet the members every day, to explain things and to help them. And they’re all such lovely people. To me they are the heart of the credit union.”
As back to school/college approaches, the Credit Union will be the first port of call for many people but Noirín says that they see all sorts of reasons for loan applications. “Everything from cars to dental work. Sometimes it’s just to get people over a hump when the finances won’t stretch. And because we offer such competitive rate it makes sense for people to borrow from us.”
Kevin agrees and adds, “When you buy a car with a credit union loan, you own that car from day one, even if you get into any difficulties with repayments. If members ever have a difficulty, there’s no need for them to hide. We won’t be there with a stick, rather we’ll be there to listen and to help.” It’s important to remember this when borrowing from the Credit Union.
On October 6, the Clonakilty Credit Union building on Kent Street will see business as usual in the morning before celebrations kick off after lunch. There will be various family activities before the day concludes with the Big Bonanza Draw. Everybody is invited along to help mark this very special day.
There’s still time to avail of all the benefits of joining Clonakilty Credit Union, including a chance at winning a hefty sum! Visit them on Kent Street to see how they can help you.