Credit unions in Tipperary and Cork in talks to merge

Almost 40,000 members remain in the dark about a proposed merger of two large credit unions in Munster.

No formal application has yet been submitted to the Central Bank in respect of a merger between Charleville CU in north Cork and Clonmel CU in south Tipperary, but talks between the management teams are advancing.

It is strongly believed that Charleville, with 12,100 members, will be subsumed into the Clonmel business.

Annette Kiely, chief executive of Charleville CU said: “We are currently in talks about merging with another credit union. This is an ongoing process.

“These talks may not come to fruition and any change would be subject to approval by the relevant parties.

“If a merger or transfer of engagements should take place, we will notify members directly.”

A transfer of engagement is a voluntary process whereby all assets, liabilities, and undertakings of one or more credit unions are transferred to another.

Meanwhile, Paul Davey, manager of Clonmel CU, told the Irish Examiner no application for such a transfer of engagement had been made to the Central Bank.

“We have not applied to the Central Bank for anything at this point in time,” said Mr Davey.

“Our position is that we will not comment on or confirm or refute the story.”

Clonmel CU has already completed two transfers of engagement in recent years, one with Fethard CU and one with Mullinahone CU.

A transfer does not necessarily mean the CU that is taken over ceases operating. CU offices in Fethard and Mullinahone remain open, along with branches of Clonmel CU.

Mr Davey said that, in previous preliminary discussions where transfers of engagement ended up taking place, they were always carried out under the protection of a non-disclosure agreement.

“In all conversations that we have conducted with any other party we always sign an agreement that prevents disclosure — that is to protect each credit union as such matters are commercially sensitive,” said Mr Davey.

A board meeting will be held in Clonmel CU this evening but Mr Davey said there is no item on the agenda relating to any merger.

Meanwhile, Ms Kiely said that it was business as usual in Charleville.

“Members can continue to do business in the usual way with Charleville Credit Union,” she said.

“Our number one priority at all times is our members and this will be reflected in all decisions taken by Charleville Credit Union.”

The standard process for a transfer includes due diligence where all parties look at the financial, legal, and technological state of their union.

A detailed business case is then submitted to the Central Bank.

If the bank gives the go-ahead for a transfer of engagement, the board of the CU must resolve it or else the members are balloted.

The entire process can take as little as 10-16 weeks.

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