This time 12 months ago Covid was having a major impact on all our lives. People’s jobs were under threat, movements were restricted, and we had all experienced several lockdowns. Thankfully vaccines have now been developed and delivered to most people, but Covid is still an issue even today. Financially people were talking about fuel prices rising there was talk of inflation, The Protocol etc. Sadly, these have come to pass and are now realities. But the one financial beacon still shining brightly for many through these worrying times is their Credit Union.
Lurgan Credit Union has always been there for its members. But like all credit unions it can only happen through the dedication of the volunteers, be they Credit Committee members, Supervisory Committee or Board members and of course the staff. So it is with gratitude that I say Thank you to Rose Skeffington who is standing down after 30 years as a volunteer in LCU. Rose has been on the Board as well as several committees, most recently holding the posts of Membership and Insurance Officers. She offered great local knowledge and always had the interests of our members at heart. She will be missed on the Board. We also have to say thank you and goodbye to a long serving member of our Credit Committee, Eddie Donnelly, who is retiring after 38 years of giving to the local community. Can I remind you the members, we are always looking for people who can offer their help with various posts within the volunteer structure so if you or anyone you know feel they would have the time to offer to the Credit Union especially in the areas of IT or the legal fields, we would ask you to please contact any member of staff for further details.
At this point I want to also say thank you to all our staff and management who continue to work hard for you, our members. They are a great team. Also, a warm welcome to our new staff members.
As the branches of many of our major banks continue to close in the town, Lurgan Credit Union remains committed to maintaining our services and indeed adding to them within our local community offering that personal, face-to-face service.
Credit unions continued to serve their members throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, acting as an essential service. Their focus throughout has been to continue to work in a way that best works for members. The accessibility of credit unions and their ability to continue to provide services to members and communities has brought huge value to many communities during the pandemic.
Lurgan Credit Union remains a vital and accessible provider of affordable and ethical financial services. We at LCU continue to evolve, we have had very favourable feedback from members using the new interactive website that allows members greater opportunities to find the information they want more easily and to offer greater control of their accounts, or indeed to become a member. With the introduction of Nestegg, members can apply for a loan online while seeing in real-time the options available for payment amounts and loan period. This has been welcomed by members who have seen both the application process and decision time greatly eased and speeded up. We have seen a great response to the introduction of higher lending, where members can now apply for loans up to £60,000, (subject to terms and conditions). We have improved our payments by debit card system for those members who find that a useful tool.
When people suffer reduced income, or worse still lose their jobs, credit unions are the ultimate, and often the only, door open to them. We want our community to know that Lurgan Credit Union stands ready to deliver for its members and repay the loyalty shown to Lurgan Credit Union by its members over the last 60 years. To this end I would urge any member to come in and talk to us if or when they experience hardship in their financial lives, don’t wait until it’s too late, you will find our staff are very understanding. We are also committed to financial education and to ensuring our members fully understand the financial products out there, and to that end, money education is a feature of our new website.
Supporting local initiatives has long been a feature of Lurgan Credit Union. In recent months we have seen huge increases in the number of local groups asking for our support and we will always endeavour to help as many as we can.
We again had a very impressive entry for our Art Competition in October. We congratulate the winners in the various categories and the prize day will be on Saturday 10th December in Brownlow hub. We are proud of the role we continue to play in being not only a financial institution but also a valuable resource for the community.
Credit unions have been regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) since 2013 and we continue to be subject to rigorous on-going regulatory and compliance checks and inspections. However, the staff and volunteers work extremely hard to ensure Lurgan Credit Union is run in a prudent and professional manner.
As part of the Prudential Regulation Authority’s (PRA’s) regulatory requirements under Part 10.1 of the PRA Credit Union Rulebook we are now obliged to report the following:
- Lurgan Credit Union Ltd. is compliant with all requirements relating to the deposit protection scheme and the Single Customer View (SCV),
- Lurgan Credit Union Ltd. has maintained the required level of insurance against fraud and dishonesty throughout the year,
- Lurgan Credit Union undertakes additional lending and investment activities and complies with the PRA mandatory ratio requirements in relation to those activities. Ratios are reviewed monthly by the Board of Directors.
I would like to take this opportunity to remind members of a few things they may like to think about regarding their accounts:
Is your Beneficiary up to date?
Are your contact details correct and up to date?
Always keep your passwords etc safe and never give another individual details of your account.
Take the opportunity to visit our website www.lurgancu.com to see the many new services we now offer.
Unfortunately, many members have experienced the most trying of times in this past year, none more so than when a loved one dies. Lurgan Credit Union, like many credit unions, try to ease the burden on families at these times and as a result we have given member’s families around £632,000 in funeral assistance this year. Our treasurer, Eileen Doran, will give greater detail on this and other financial matters in her report later in the meeting.
We at Lurgan Credit Union very much recognise and appreciate the loyalty and support which has always existed between our members and the credit union, we will continue to work tirelessly on your behalf and to make a positive difference to our community.
And now before I conclude, I would invite you to observe a minute’s silence in memory of all our deceased members. Thank you.