Austerity signals growth for Credit Union members

Frances Burns, chairman of the board of directors, outside Calderdale Credit Union Ltd
Frances Burns, chairman of the board of directors, outside Calderdale Credit Union Ltd

THE 5,500 members of Calderdale Credit Union can look forward to a 1.25 per cent dividend this year from investing in the organisation.

The annual meeting was told it had £3.5 million loaned out to members at “truly affordable” interest rates.

“We are moving into new territory with legislation designed to allow us to compete with other financial institutions,” said chairwoman Frances Burns.

“It is an opportunity for us to attract new investment money to lend out.”

But the past year has not been easy for the union, which appointed Paul Brannigan as its first ever chief executive in the spring of last year.

He left after only 10 months in the job, allegedly over differences about how the organisation was being run.

Mr Brannigan was unavailable for comment but some of his concerns are believed to be reflected in the annual report of Independent Auditors, Hallidays LLP, of Stockport.

They found that: “In the previous year bank reconciliations had not been kept up to date and bank statements were showing a balance of £72,114 less than that shown on the financial statement.

“The opening balance contains a material mis-statement in relation to the bank reconciliation difference brought forward from the previous year which has been written off in the accounts for the current year.

“Bank reconciliations have not been maintained adequately and there remains a balance of £62,858 which hasn’t been reconciled at the year end.”

Because of that, they told the annual meeting, they were unable to form an opinion as to whether the financial statements gave a true and fair view of the state of the credit union’s affairs.

Ms Burns, who has been involved with the union since 1990, said: “The job of chief executive did not work out in the way we hoped. For some reason, I don’t think Mr Brannigan fitted in with our ethos so there was a parting of the ways. The Financial Services Authority has been kept fully informed.”