First Choice Credit Union hold Inaugural Virtual Annual General Meeting

On Tuesday last, 27th April, members of First Choice Credit Union attended their very first virtual Annual General Meeting, a move from the traditional AGM meeting format due to Covid 19 Health & Safety restrictions.

The highlight of the night was undoubtedly the approval of the Transfer of Engagement, of Swinford & District Credit Union to First Choice Credit Union. The Transfer of Engagement was strongly supported by the members of First Choice Credit Union. Subsequently, the merger was also approved by the members of Swinford & District Credit Union on Wednesday night, 28th April, at their Annual General Meeting.

The Credit Unions have now applied to the Central Bank of Ireland for their confirmation to proceed with the merger. When the merger completes, it will create a Credit Union with over €230million in assets and five branches in Co. Mayo which will be one of the largest Credit Unions in the West of Ireland. The transfer will provide an enhanced range of services for members of Swinford & District Credit Union, and a wider member base for First Choice Credit Union. It is yet another example of co-operation among co-operatives.

Speaking on behalf of First Choice Credit Union, Chairperson of the Board of First Choice Credit Union, James McLoughlin said; “This merger is an extremely positive move for members of our Credit Unions and we look forward to serving the members of a Credit Union which has similar values and vision. It makes perfect sense not only from a financial and member service perspective but also an administrative one in the current regulatory environment.”

The AGM also served as the perfect platform to inform members of recent developments of online and current account services, including the new convenient online loan application facility & digital signature service which enables members to apply for a loan online, upload supporting documents and draw down an approved loan online without the need to call to a branch. The Current Account provides a full-service account where members can access a range of facilities, such as a globally accepted Mastercard® Debit Card, free contactless payments, cashback option, overdraft, Fitbit Pay™ & Google Pay™.

Also highlighted on the night was First Choice Credit Union’s approval to participate in the Strategic Banking Corporation Covid 19 Credit Guarantee Scheme. This is a government supported scheme to assist SME businesses and Primary Producers that have been adversely impacted by Covid-19, to access loan facilities to support the continued viability of their business during and after the pandemic.  Supporting local business has a positive economic impact for the wider community and is very much in line with the credit union ethos.

First Choice Credit Union welcomed three new directors: Joe Butler, Michael Howley and Peter Mooney. Con Lydon and James McLoughlin were also re-elected to the Board of Directors. Jacqueline Mulroe was elected to the Board Oversight Committee and Grant Thornton were elected as Auditors for the year ahead. Additionally, motions were passed to enable First Choice Credit Union hold virtual Annual General Meetings in the future.

Chairman of the Board, James McLoughlin welcomed the newly elected Directors, Committee member and Auditor commenting: “A sincere welcome to our new Board members, re-elected Directors and Committee member Jacqueline Mulroe. The calibre and experience of each candidate will be invaluable as we look to the future and the many developments ahead. I would also like to congratulate Grant Thornton on their election as Auditor.”

While personal engagement with members remains a core part of the credit union’s service delivery across its network of branches, First Choice Credit Union’s online services are quick, convenient, user friendly and are fast becoming the transacting method of choice for a large percentage of the membership.

All members were thanked for their continued loyalty and support which is the driving force behind First Choice Credit Union’s continued success.