History of Bruff Credit Union

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Bruff Credit Union registered for the first time with the Register of Friendly Societies in September 1971.

Following this, a common bond was established, which included the townlands of Bruff, Grange, Meanus, Knockainey, Fedamore, Uregare, Dromin, Athlacca, Rathmore, Lough Gur, Crean and Meanus and is still in existence. A common bond defines the area within which the credit union can operate. People living, working or going to school within the common bond are eligible to join the credit union.

The idea of Bruff Credit Union began in 1971 when Fr. James Neville C.C. brought the idea to a Muintir Na Tire Meeting. This idea was then brought to a joint meeting of Muintir Na Tire and Bruff Development and a study group was set up which met weekly to see if the idea could be brought to life. The study group received guidance from members of Chapter 13 which consist of representatives of Credit Unions from Limerick and Clare. Jim South and Kit McDonald from Chapter 13 and Michael O’Doherty from the Irish League of Credit Unions oversaw the process of setting up the Credit Union.

The first step to the process was to set up a savings club to allow the group to familiarise themselves with book-keeping, accounting and banking of cash procedures. The first lodgement of £13 was lodged into the AIB Bank on 15th April 1971 which represented the thirteen members of the study group paying in £1 each. They made weekly lodgements and took out loans of £10 and £20 to familiarise themselves with calculating loan interest.

An organisation meeting was held to elect a Board of Directors, Supervisors and an Auditor and to put in place a management structure for the credit union. The founding members were Fr. James Neville, John O’Connor, P.J. Ryan, Angela Clancy, John Horan, Adge Bulfin, John Browne, Nora Walsh, Pat Dennehy. Supervisory Committee: Thomas Coleman, Jerry Murphy, Pat Coen. Auditor: Thomas Long and Co.

First election of officers of BCU

  • Chair: Fr. Neville
  • Vice Chair: John Horan
  • Secretary: Angela Clancy
  • Treasurer: John O’Connor.

The credit union operated from Lower Main Street, Bruff. Members shares at 31st December 1971 were £702.11 and Loans out were £367.50. The credit union operated on Friday nights in the office at Bruff, from 7pm-10pm. We had a sub-office in Meanus, originally at the Old School House and then onto Hogan’s Pub, every Sunday mornings from 10am -11am. In 1994, we opened a sub-office in the Community Centre in Knockainey, every Saturday night from 6.30pm to 7.30pm.

In 1976, the Board made the decision to move to a larger premise in the Main Street which came available. Credit Union assets had reached £27,000 and were growing steadily. In 1982, the Board made the decision to establish its own premises in Sycamore Drive. It approached Limerick County Council who had some land and was building fifty houses and they gave us a site to build our own premises. In 1983 we moved into that property and continued to grow from strength to strength.

The credit union experienced steady growth in its membership. In 1993 our previous premises on Main Street came on the market which was a prime location. The credit union purchased and demolished the old building and we moved into this newly built premises in 1995. To facilitate further growth, the credit union introduced Percom technology to serve the members more efficiently and manage its members’ services.

In 1995, we had one part-time staff member who worked Thursday from 9.30am – 1pm and Friday from 9.30am -1pm and 2pm to 5pm and volunteers worked Thursday and Friday evenings from 7pm to 9pm. In 1997, we reached one million Irish pounds in shares which was a milestone in the credit union, which with a small common bond captured the heart of the community. In 1999, the credit union employed two part-time employees and opened its offices Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 9.30am- 1pm, Friday 9.30am-1pm, 2pm to 5pm and evening opening Thursday 7pm-9pm and Friday 7pm-9pm. Currently, we have 5 staff and 17 volunteers.

Another significant milestone was reached by the 31st December 2016 when the total assets of the Credit Union reached €10,000,000.

In 2018, Bruff Credit Union has 2,824 members with shares of €8.4 million and a loan book of €3.2 million and continues to provide a savings and loan service to our member.