A leading credit union said a sharp drop in lending due to Covid-19 restrictions is one of the main reasons it is being forced to close two branches and sell valuable properties that are are there.
The County of Dublin’s Progressive Credit Union, which has total assets of € 221 million, said it needed to align its cost base with a lower income level.
This prompted him to close its branches and put the buildings up for sale in the rapidly growing town of Donabate and wealthy Dublin suburb of Clontarf.
The decision to close the Donabate premises and sell them has generated anger from all parties in the region, which is expected to triple in size to reach a population of 20,000 in the coming years.
Asked why it was closing branches, Progressive Managing Director Sean Staunton said: “The closure decisions were made to address the challenges that Progressive Credit Union faces in aligning its cost base with revenue streams. current, mainly interest on loans, which have been severely affected by Covid-19 and are likely to remain low for a long time. “
The Donabate premises are in a prime location on a large site, while the Clontarf premises are in an area known for high property prices.
The credit union confirmed that the two premises would be sold rather than handed over to the communities who built them.
Progressive was born from the merger of the credit unions of Balbriggan, Skerries, Clontarf, Donabate, Swords and Baldoyle, among others.
It has 60,000 members and has taken over some of the operations of Rush and Lusk, which was forcibly wound up by the High Court.
The credit union said that once operations ceased at both branches, the properties should be classified as investment property that it was not permitted to hold under the 1997 Law on Cooperatives. credit.
“Therefore, the buildings must be sold.”
He said any gains from the sale of the buildings would be reinvested in Progressive Credit Union.
“All funds received from any sale will be reinvested to avoid new financial challenges we may face as the local economy recovers from the pandemic.”
The credit union reported that its surplus declined 26% to € 825,000 for the year up to last September, compared to the previous year.
It imposed a limit of € 15,000 on members’ savings.
Branches will be closed on July 1.
The Clontarf branch had been open one day a week, while the Donabate branch was open three days a week, but given the decrease in the number of members using the two branches, the cost of staffing and staffing branch maintenance has become unjustifiable, the credit union insisted.