Monday, 18 April 2011

AGM 2011 Belfast - ‘Strength in Unity’

On Saturday 30th April and Sunday 1st May 2011 over 4,000 people including 1,500 delegates from 498 credit unions all over Ireland – north and south – and representatives from the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) will meet in the Belfast Waterfront for the Annual General Meeting of the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU). The conference will review strategies to further the development of the credit union movement in Ireland.



Martin McGuinness Deputy First Minister will give an opening address at the conference and the Lord Mayor, Councillor Pat Convery will welcome the ILCU to Belfast Waterfront. To mark the European Year of the Volunteer Mickey Harte, GAA personality and motivational speaker will address the delegates on the issue of the importance of volunteering and community solidarity on Saturday afternoon.



Credit union staff and volunteers will gather for two days of meetings, which will focus on the credit union movement’s future plans. The conference will address the new challenges and opportunities facing credit unions in a rapidly changing economic and social environment.



This year’s theme “Strength in Unity” reflects the ethos of credit unions who believe that through our combined efforts we can become a stronger service for our members. This is certainly necessary today more than ever with more and more people in need of social and financial security and access to credit”.



Founded by our esteemed colleague John Hume there are now 103 credit unions in Northern Ireland with assets of over 900million. This Chapter 3 area is a real stronghold for the credit union movement and we are delighted to be returning to Belfast for what is an important meeting for credit unions. We are very pleased to welcome Deputy First Minster Martin McGuinness, to the AGM this year and I am certain his attendance will prove informative and productive in terms of the future of credit unions. We have also been working with the Belfast Visitor & Convention Bureau in advance of our visit to ensure that we assist with showcasing a beautiful city to all our members during our visit”.



Delegates will attend a dinner in the Europa Hotel, on Saturday evening where the finalists of the CU Factor will perform for the guests.



Information



The Irish League of Credit Unions is the representative body for almost 500 Credit Unions on the island of Ireland which includes 103 in Northern Ireland. It is Ireland’s successful, not-for-profit, financial co-operative run by, and for, it’s almost 3 million members. Chapter 3, a regional grouping of credit unions in and around Belfast, has 31 credit unions with over 128,000 members. These credit unions have assets of over £290 million and have granted loans totalling £158 million to their members. In the formative years back in 1969, the largest 3 credit unions in Chapter 3 had 4,000 members and £230,000 in savings. Now the 3 largest credit unions in Chapter 3 have over 40,000 members and almost £120 million in savings.



The first time the convention came to Belfast was in 1984 and was held at the Masefield Leisure Centre. The Chair of the organising committee then was Bert Lancaster from Abbey Credit Union who had been an ILCU Board member since 1967. Gerry Mulherron from SAG Credit Union and Kevin Helferty of Lisburn Credit Union also both former ILCU Board members were part of the committee that helped ensure the first Northern Ireland convention was a success.



The first credit union in the Northern Ireland was established by John Hume in Derry in 1960. Since 1960 credit unions in NI have been providing access to affordable loans, secure savings and shared surplus among its members. Credit Union success in NI is down to caring about people and taking care of their money. The average loan size to members in NI during 2010 was £3,480. Also during 2010 six credit unions in the province launched a new pre-paid debit card service to their members.



For further information, please contact the Helen Loughran, Irish League of Credit Unions on 078 99991579 or email hloughran@creditunion.ie