herald

Saturday 10 December 2016

'We fear we won't get our savings back', say credit union members

A representative of the liquidator speaks to members of Rush Credit Union at its offices where withdrawals were being declined
A representative of the liquidator speaks to members of Rush Credit Union at its offices where withdrawals were being declined

Angry members of Rush Credit Union descended on its offices to demand their savings back.

The High Court appointed a liquidator to the credit union this week following a crisis involving alleged misappropriation and suspected money laundering.

Rush Credit Union was established in 1972 and has about 11,457 members, with savings worth €24m.

A senior employee of the credit union at the centre of a cash scandal won a car in what is suspected of being a rigged draw. During the course of a garda probe, concerns were flagged over the annual draw, which has been run for a number of years.

Funded

Fears that it was rigged meant that €400,000 had to be refunded, with everyone who entered the draw entitled to have their money put back into their account.

The money was refunded for the draws between 2009 and 2014. It is understood that a staff member won the car in at least one draw but details of what car was won or in what year were not clear.

Paddy Wilde (75) said what happened with his credit union "is an absolute disgrace".

"It's going to be a sad Christmas for the workers in there who are left high and dry. People want their savings back.

"It's very sad for Rush. Now we have no financial institution apart from a post office and no garda station. It's a one-horse town now," Mr Wilde said.

The High Court this week heard the credit union is in a distressed state, with net liabilities over assets of some €2m and has minus 8.7pc reserves, which will require it to be funded to the tune of €4.73m.

Liquidators Jim Luby and Tom Rogers have powers to repay deposits within 21 days under the State's Deposit Guarantee Scheme, which guarantees savings of up to €100,000.

Yesterday morning, a small crowd gathered outside the credit union seeking answers to many questions. Representatives of the liquidators spoke briefly to members and said their savings (up to €100,000) were covered and would be refunded in two to three weeks.

Guaranteed

"We have been told our savings are guaranteed but we still have our doubts," local woman Miriam Murray (62) said.

"If there are arrears on loans they will be deducted from savings and we're told the office will open again some day for people to pay back loans but I can't see many queueing to do that," she said.

"My father Jim Andrews helped set up the credit union in the 1970s. He had book number 1. It was all very simple back then but look at how it has turned out now."

Kathy Hollywood (36) arrived to take out money to pay for home renovations but was told no withdrawals were possible. "How do I tell the builders that? Do they have to wait for payment now until I get a cheque in the post?"

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