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Credit Union’s 34,000 Mid and East Antrim members have total savings worth £82m

Mid and East Antrim councillors have been given a presentation by the Irish League of Credit Unions which has 34,449  members in the borough.

They were asked to support the financial organisation which has six branches in Mid and East Antrim, at a meeting of the council’s Direct Services Committee, on Tuesday evening.

Martin Fisher, from the Irish League of Credit Unions, told councillors that  customers in the borough have Credit Union savings worth £82m.

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There are 88 branches in Northern Ireland affiliated to the Irish League of Credit Unions with a total of 535,000 adult members with one third of people having an account, the highest membership worldwide.

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Mr Fisher noted that branches were permitted to remain open during the Covid restrictions as the Credit Union organisation was officially recognised as an essential service.

“We believe the Credit Union will now play a role in rebuilding and recovery of Northern Ireland post-Covid,” he said. He reported that a project is ongoing to quantify the social impact of  Credit Unions in the province.

He went on to say: “Younger people like the Credit Union’s ideals and ethos. Credit Union is an essential element of communities across Northern Ireland, We would ask for support in these initiatives.

“We need to make Credit Union stronger through appropriate supports. We want to continue to provide our services within the community and offer fair credit to everyone.”

Knockagh Ulster Unionist Councillor Andrew Wilson, who is a member of Mid and East Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP), commented that the borough has been identified previously as a “hotspot for loan sharking” and asked about the Credit Union’s work to help those who have accrued such debts.

Mr Fisher said that the Credit Union is “more than happy” to work with councillors and is “open to suggestions”.

He also indicated that the financial organisation is working to break down  barriers in communities.

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter

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