The principles of CO-OPERATION and SELF HELP, with a view to helping families and individuals in the Larne area to improve their quality of life, were the motivating factors in the setting up of Larne Credit Union Limited. Indeed they are the same principles that have promoted the development of Credit Unions throughout Ireland and around the world.
Brief history of Larne Credit Union Limited.
When it comes to write the story of an individual credit union’s existence one is aware of the many similarities in that credit union’s story and those of every other credit union in the country. Every credit union was set up in response to a need that existed at the time of its coming into being and the main difference between credit unions might be an indicator of the extent and the depth of the need in the areas they served.
In the early 1970s Larne was a relatively prosperous or perhaps relatively less deprived area in the area covered by Chapter 2 of the Irish League of Credit Unions. It had a busy port and road and rail connection to Belfast. It was the site of large engineering factories and better than average employment opportunities. The town was growing rapidly and there was an influx of new people coming in from outside the town to avail of the opportunities created. New homes and new schools were being built and with many young families to cater for there was a need for the financial services which a credit union could provide. It is possibly because of the relatively good employment opportunities in the area that the need for a credit union had not been as obvious in Larne as elsewhere. It is the case that many of the people who finally decided that a credit union was necessary were coming into the town from other places where credit unions had been established and where the benefits of membership were appreciated.
Larne was the last area in Chapter 2 to have a credit union established and it was through the auspices of Chapter that the story began. Two members of Ballycastle Credit Union were invited to Larne to address a meeting that had been called to inform people about credit unions. The meeting was held on a Sunday evening in late August 1971 in the parochial hall existing at that time on Victoria Road. The two men, Michael O’Cleary and Bernard Black, explained to the group, most of whom had never heard or at best had some hazy notion of what a credit union was, about the essentially simple idea that was and is credit union. Co-operation made things possible. Following their suggestion, a study group was set up at a subsequent meeting and the process of establishing Larne Credit Union Limited was begun.
A study group was set up to study the principles of Credit Union and to discuss the rules.
We began operating with a small number of members. Premises were rented in Main Street, Larne before moving to Dunluce Street and then back to Main Street again.
We purchased a small house in Circular Road, Larne and used it as our office.
We purchased an adjoining house and these two houseswere knocked into one and rebuilt, mostly by VOLUNTARY labour. As business developed the need for larger premises was obvious.
We established a branch office in Carnlough, in rented premises.
Mrs Arlene Clements was appointed as Office Manager of Larne Credit Union Limited.
A site was purchased in Carnlough for a new sub office.
The new sub office was officially opened by Mr. Uel Adair, President of the Irish League of Credit Unions.