Derry Credit Union have warned of the dangers associated with taking out high interest loans as they revealed they have issued over £16m in loans over the past year, it has emerged.
A total of 19,300 loans were approved during the year, an average of £834 per debtor.
Of all those that applied for a loan, 94.6% of people were successful.
The Abbey Street Credit Union- the largest in the north west- now has 29,872 adult members and 5,139 children with accounts. Of these, 758 are people who have joined within the past year.
The Credit Union’s Annual Reports and Financial Statements for the year to the start of October 2015 balance sheet shows that there is £80.1m in shares and savings held at the Credit Union.
Derry Credit Union has made over £5m from interest on loans and income from investors over the past year, it has emerged.
Staff have also recovered £207,000 in so-called bad debts, while 25 members were taken to court.
The annual report shows that when expenditure in salaries, insurance and other outgoings are factored in, there was still a surplus of £2.388m after tax.
The amount of loan money issued is down slightly from last year, and Carolann Doherty, Credit Committee Secretary concludes in her annual report: “In recent year, we have witnessed a reduction in the number of loans applied for.
“We would like to think members have been more prudent in the context of the ongoing global financial downturn.”
“However some members may be turning to more expensive forms of credit. We would urge all members to speak to us, your credit union, before considering other options. While our loan policy guides every loan policy guides every loan application, we consider each application on its own merits, providing we have a full picture of the member’s financial situation.”
Across Co. Derry there are now 94,713 Credit Union members. Savings in credit unions across Derry City and the wider county now stands at £223m.
Brian McCrory, President of the Irish League of Credit Unions, said: “The loans they are providing are filling oil tanks, meeting school and college costs, providing for major family celebrations, helping with big household purchases, and of course assisting those who have suddenly found themselves out of pocket through no fault of their own.”