Ballyconnell Credit Union - serving the community
New current account and debit card facilities launched
Ballyconnell Credit Union is now offering customers access to a full suite of current account services, complete with a globally accepted MYCU Debit Mastercard, contactless payment options, and access to overdraft facilities with no surcharge interest.
The new service, launching this week (Monday, March 21), provides real choice for new and existing members, online, or on the app, with the same friendly Ballyconnell CU team to back it up.
Launched in response to member demand, and in direct response to the impending withdrawals of Ulster Bank and KBC Bank from the Irish banking market, Ballyconnell CU intends to meet the need of its existing members and new potential members with the roll-out.
“We want to be the financial institution of choice for members, and indeed new members,” explains Ballyconnell CU Manager, Gerry Lennon, listing off two key principles he feels best sum up the trusted local institution- “continuity and community”.
Printed on the perspex Covid shield still mounted on Gerry’s office desk is the motto by which Ballyconnell CU operates: ‘Serving the Community’.
“We take our social responsibility very seriously. We’re here for our members, for the community and part of the community. That’s what the whole Credit Union ethos is founded on. That’s the continuity, the trust that we share and it remains very much at the heart of the service we provide to our members”
Along with a worldwide recognised MYCU Debit Mastercard with easy access to money 24/7, other benefits from opening a Ballyconnell CU Current Account include competitive monthly account fees of €5, fully transparent with no hidden penalty charges; Free accounts for full-time students aged 16-24; anywhere banking, with unlimited Euro point of sale, mobile and online banking transactions; and five charge free ATM cash withdrawals per month.
Customers will also be able to avail of contactless payments; access to standing orders and direct debits; as well as overdraft facilities, including a personal overdraft option of up to €5,000 (terms and conditions apply).
“Whether tapping on the go or even paying online, our customers can now easily pay for goods and services using their new MYCU Debit Mastercard, which can also be used at all ATMs, at home here in Ireland as well as abroad.”
Opening a new current account at Ballyconnell CU is simple.
Customers can log onto the Ballyconnell CU website (www.BallyconnellCU.ie) and follow the easy steps provided, or call into the branch office either in Ballyconnell (Open Monday to Friday 10am-5pm, closing for lunch 1-2pm; and Saturdays 10am-3pm), or the sub-office at Main Street, Swanlinbar (Fridays 10am-5pm, closed for lunch 1-2pm).
Applicants are required to be a member of Ballyconnell CU and aged 16 years or older. New applicants must provide a current valid ID (passport or driving licence), and recent proof of address.
The MYCU Current Account is for personal use only and also cannot be used as a business account.
“It is a full service with its own International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and Business Identifier Code” (BIC), explains Gerry.
“Our account is free for full-time students aged 16 to 24, and out customers can access to their money 24/7, anywhere in the world with our internationally recognised MYCU Debit Mastercard.”
A native of Cootehill who began working with AIB straight out of school, Gerry has over 40 years’ experience in the banking sector. He took over the reigns at Ballyconnell CU three years ago. He believes the “gap” in the market left behind by the departing bank brands proves to the public just how “valuable” the CU network is to communities, rural and otherwise, across Ireland.
“What were people going to do? Where were people going to go? We’ve had people asking us that very question,” says Gerry.
“But we’re here to serve our members as best we can, by enhancing our existing services, but future-proofing them as well.
“That’s why delivering this new current account service, together with a MYCU Debit Mastercard, is such an important step for us, and for our members.”
To deliver the new current account service, Ballyconnell first needed the approval from the organisation’s Board of Directors, who are very supportive and enthusiastic for the new service.
Following approval from the Board, Ballyconnell CU made a formal application for a licence to the Irish Central Bank. The submission, to begin offering and operating current accounts including debit cards and overdrafts, was approved towards the end of last year.
“I never use the word business because we’re not a business in the context of the service we provide for the community,” states Gerry.
“So, to get to this stage, took a lot of faith, and hard work. It was a great vote of confidence, from our Board of Directors, and from the Central Bank.”
Since the approval was got, Gerry and his dedicated team have been gearing up for the formal launch next week and he says “everyone is excited”.
Gerry enthuses: “[The friends and family launch] worked very well. There is a very strong investment behind all this, significant upfront and ongoing costs, but this service is being introduced in the interests of our customers. We have a very progressive Board of Directors, who are aware of the needs of our community.
That helps immensely, and really the foundations for this [new service] have been in making for quite some time. We have our hugely successful mobile banking app, we have online banking in place, so getting to the point of offering a current account service, including debit cards that are accepted worldwide and overdrafts, is very much a natural progression in the service we are trying to provide to the wider community here in West Cavan.”
Strong financial position
Despite the prolonged impact of Covid nationally, Ballyconnell CU finds itself in a strong position financially.
Last year Ballyconnell CU closed its 2021 books with assets of €42.8 million, up €2.6m; and a year end surplus of €603,000.
The local credit union, which serves all of west Cavan and its surrounding hinterland, boasts strong reserves at 20.6% of total assets, and approved new loans in the year of almost €5m.
With the reopening of society in 2022, Ballyconnell CU has seen a surge of new members with over 180 joining since October. And with the deadline for switching approaching fast, Gerry is confident of Ballyconnell CU’s position in meeting the needs of all customers going forward.
Exclusive 6.5% switcher loan
Coupled to that, and the new current account service, is a Ballyconnell CU exclusive limited time Switcher Loan offer (6.5% APR) up to €50,000, minimum amount €5,000, with free life cover for eligible members that can be applied for online, in person, or over the phone at 049-9526571.
“During the last two to three years we have continued to enhance our online and web-based services as well as loan offerings,” says Gerry. “That includes, in participation with the Irish League of Credit Unions, in partnership with Energia and House 2 Home, a home energy efficiency grant through the CU Greener Homes Scheme, with attractive loan interest rates from as low as 4.9%.
“Grants in some instances of up to 80% and supports of up to €25,000 per home are available. We also have a straight through online loan application system and drawdown process whereby customers can apply for and drawdown a loan right from their own home, and a quick approval process. We also do special rate student loans, and SME loans as well. So we have a busy portfolio.
“As a Credit Union we’re in a financially strong position, we have been and continue to be. We’re well capitalised, so people’s money is safe. The Central Bank have seen see that in their approval to allow us offer Current Account services, including debit cards and overdrafts. All told, it’s a well-run organisation.”
Gerry concludes: “There is a great team of people working here, who know the community, are part of the community. It’s part of what makes Ballyconnell CU so successful. I’m happy to be able to say that.”