by Colm Croffy
The new CEO of Ballinasloe Credit Union is Grainne Murphy, a native of Galway City, a fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and a member of the LIA holding certificates in Credit Union Risk & Compliance as well as the Qualified Financial Advisor (QFA). She began her accountancy career as a trainee with Duffy & Company in Dominick Street, Galway. The principal of the firm, Cormac Duffy, was very active in the formation of Credit Unions in Galway in the early years and the firm served as auditors to the Credit Union, where Grainne has been a member since the 1980’s.
Grainne now lives in Clarinbridge with her husband and two children. Prior to taking up this role, she was Chief Financial Officer with First Choice Credit Union, Castlebar for 5 years. It was a natural next step for her to take on the challenge of the CEO role, which to date has been really rewarding and enjoyable. “The sense of community here is strong and the team in the Credit Union are dedicated and friendly. The shorter daily commute is also a welcome bonus!” exclaims Grainne. Working in a financial co-operative where ethics and social responsibility are not just aspirational is of key importance to her. “These values permeate everything we do. Members always come first and their needs are front and centre in our decision making. I look forward to working with my team to deliver on the goals and objectives of the Credit Union, building long lasting connections with the local community and continuing to make a positive difference in our member’s lives” she states.
As an essential service, their focus throughout the Covid-19 pandemic has been to continue to facilities service to members. During the period of lockdown they operated on reduced hours/ days but since July they are back to the full 6 day week service. They have also improved their technological ability, ensuring they remain agile enough to adapt quickly to change. In addition, they are developing their online offerings to provide alternative forms of contact and service delivery in the future. For members protection they have also installed safety screens at the counter and have more signage and a queue management system in place.
“We have also rolled out two new lending products (business & personal) specifically designed to support members who may be experiencing difficulty at this time. So, I would encourage those members who may be experiencing financial difficulties or who anticipate that they may be facing into such difficulties in the coming months, to come and talk to us. We are here to help” offers Grainne. Joining your local Credit union is the one of the best financial decisions anyone can make. Their philosophy is based around supporting the needs of their members. One of the many benefits provided to members is loan protection insurance, the premium for this insurance is paid by the Credit Union. If you are an eligible member this means that you can borrow from your credit union in the full confidence that your dependents will not be obliged to repay the outstanding loan balance in the event of your death (There are some associated terms and conditions and members should enquire to see if they are eligible when making their loan application). Grainne believes “In this way we are different to every other financial institution in Ireland. We are driven by a desire to work for our members benefit and provide financial services in our local communities.
To join, just call to our office in Main Street with valid photo identification and proof of address. New members (young and old) are always welcome. It is a decision you will not regret”! Since August last year she is pleased to see the transformation that has taken place in the town centre. ”There is no doubt that a construction project of this nature can be a disruptor to the economic life of any town, however I do believe that once completed it will have a lasting positive effect on business locally” she says. The Credit Union are currently focused on investing in their people, improving their technological ability and ensuring they remain agile enough to adapt quickly to persistent change.
Grainne notes how “Traditionally all of our business was done at the counter and while one of the key differences of the Credit Union movement is our personal service, we have to redefine, through the application of technology, what that means for our next generation of members. Community remains central to our philosophy and working to improve our members’ financial wellbeing will always be a core objective.” Looking to the future the provision of financial services on a fair and equitable basis is core to the ethos of the movement. “Therefore, investing in Business Model Development and meeting the ongoing demands of operating in a highly regulated environment while maintaining our core operating principals is of key importance. We will continue to advocate for Credit Unions to ensure that we remain a vibrant part of the financial services landscape in Ireland” states Grainne after a hectic first year at post.
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