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Largest credit union in the country is not in trouble, RTÉ clarifies

The credit union today announced profits of over €7 million and record reserves, after two reports that it was in trouble.

Image: Photocall Ireland

REPORTS THAT THE largest credit union in the country, St Raphael’s Garda Credit Union, is in trouble are wide of the mark, the credit union has said.

St Raphael’s was responding to a story in last weekend’s Sunday Independent that said that 70 per cent of the loans at the institution had been rescheduled.

The piece was cited in an RTÉ Morning Ireland interview with Irish League of Credit Unions chief Kieron Brennan.

That prompted the credit union to contact RTÉ to clarify the matter. In a message to members signed by Chairman John McDermott and CEO Claire Byrne, they say they were never contacted about the piece.

“RTE did not contact us before broadcasting the incorrect information. We contacted them immediately to highlight that their information was incorrect, that St Raphael’s has reported strong surpluses throughout the economic downturn and that it is one of the strongest credit unions in the country.”

RTÉ then ran a clarification on the News At One clarifying the matter, with the correction saying that less than 10 per cent of the loans at St Raphael’s had been rescheduled.

St Raphael’s added that they have contacted the Sunday Independent to seek a correction to the piece, but have not yet received a response.

Profit

In fact, St Raphael’s today released their annual results, showing that profits of €7.3 million and record-level reserves of €51.6 million.

The results showed that the credit union had recovered half a million euro in previously written off bad debts and paid a dividend of 1.5 per cent to members – about a quarter of a per cent above the national average.

CEO of St Raphael’s Claire Byrne said that some of the reporting on credit unions was “poorly researched”.

A number of media outlets have made claims about credit unions that are simply wrong. These stories are based on incorrect information and are poorly researched.

“St Raphael’s continues to be in a very strong financial position and we expect it will continue to be one of the strongest credit unions in the country.

“Like every other lender, we have some borrowers who are having difficulty in repaying their loans – but the numbers are relatively small and we will continue to manage them appropriately.”

Read: People still joining credit unions, but fewer are taking out loans

Read: Explainer: What is going on with the Credit Union?

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