TRUST AND TEAMWORK TO BEAT THE TURBULENCE
Anyone who has experienced turbulence on an aircraft will vouch for the fact it’s not a pleasant experience. When it does occur the intercom is activated and there follows a confident assured message from the captain that the aircraft will pass through this naturally occurring phenomena.
Invariably the plane reaches its destination, passengers disembark and are quickly on their merry way.
The financial turbulence that has rocked the world’s financial institutions has left everyone a little spooked and organisations like credit unions are not immune. Having started life as bit players they’ve evolved into formidable organisations in their own right.
The 2010 AGM of Fermoy Credit Union took place in Fermoy Community Youth Centre last Thursday (the same night as its sister credit union in Mitchelstown). Chairman of the board of directors, William Lonergan gave his ‘this is your captain speaking’ speech, it was well received and while ‘challenges’ still exist for Fermoy Credit Union the message from the top table was one of reassurance.
It’s one of the great strengths of the credit union that directors are drawn from the rank and file and that their over-riding concern is to plot a steady course for members.
Individuals like William Lonergan continue to give outstanding service to Fermoy Credit Union and are trusted implicitly; it’s this critical issue of trusting the people at the top table that underpins the stability of Fermoy Credit Union.
The financial turbulence we’ve spoken about is very real and because of the economic downturn some members of Fermoy Credit Union who were seen as ‘being good’ for their loans are, through a combination of factors, struggling to repay sums borrowed.
This is problematic for the board of directors, the very influential credit control committee, credit union members and most pertinently of all – for those who owe the money.
The matter of how much pressure a financial institution can bring to bear on an individual who finds themselves in debt is also a thorny one.
Members and diligent savers wouldn’t thank Fermoy Credit Union for giving up on those who’ve stopped repaying their loans and lest we be accused of glossing over hard figures the bad debts written off by Fermoy Credit Union has gone from a figure of €359,656 in 2009 to €1,141,949 (as in one million, one hundred and forty one thousand nine hundred and forty nine) for the financial year 2010.
Members who attended the AGM were told that active measures were being taken to recoup this money. A specialist debt collection agency has been employed in addition to availing of the services of a high powered legal team.
In some instances the credit union has resorted to using a private detective agency. All of this costs money (members’ money) which once again points up the extremely problematic nature of extracting funds from people whose circumstances have changed.
Well in advance of the AGM members were issued with an annual report which provides a comprehensive breakdown on all the figures – this is an easy to follow document and very well presented (members received no dividend this year).
ON THEIR TOES
Fermoy Credit Union isn’t immune to the financial turbulence that has dominated the headlines for much of 2010 and there are enough challenges out there to keep staff and board members on their toes for months and years to come.
Given the deep sense of loyalty members have to Fermoy Credit Union it’s reasonable to assume they will point to a track record that has seen their credit union develop from a modest financial co-operative into a multi-million euro savings and loans operation.
This being the case it’s equally reasonable to believe members will take a long term view and hold to the belief that the turbulence will end, the mother ship will hit the runway mid centre and all passengers will emerge from the craft safe and sound.
Friday 24th December 4:20pm