Athlone Credit Union Ltd. was delighted to host a delegation from the Kenyan Credit Union movement in recent times.
The Irish credit union movement is one of the most popular of its ilk in the world, with other countries looking to Ireland as they develop and strengthen their own respective movements. The delegation from Kenya comprised of Board Directors and CEOs and they received a wonderful ‘Céad Míle Failte’ from everyone in Athlone Credit Union Ltd. In Kenya, credit unions are known as savings and credit cooperative organisations (SACCOs ) with the emphasis on savings before credit. SACCOs are very developed in Kenya, with large membership numbers and lots of products services provided.
The visit to Ireland was jointly organised by the Irish League of Credit Unions International Development Foundation (ILCU Foundation ) – the international development arm of the Irish credit union movement - and Kenyan Union of Savings and Credit Cooperative Organisation (KUSCCO ) – the apex body for credit unions in Kenya. The focus of the week long visit was centred on ‘growth, innovation and sustainability’. The visit to Ireland incorporates a mix of training sessions and field visits to credit unions and is an opportunity for the delegation in Kenya to hear about the experiences from Ireland and to see at first-hand how credit unions operate.
The group were welcomed to Athlone by Town Mayor, Cllr. Frankie Keena, Michael Mc Glone, Chairman Athlone Credit Union, and Gerry Thompson, President ILCU. The group then met with Michael Evans, CEO Athlone Credit Union and the management team who presented on the history of Athlone Credit Union from 1966 to present day operations with over 19,500 members.
They further discussed and shared knowledge across a wide range of credit union operations including, marketing strategies and attracting a new generation of members, expanding financial services and improving efficiency through innovation and technology and credit union sustainability and best practices. The delegation were grateful for the comprehensive information they received and a questions and answers session took place which allowed the delegation to learn more about the operations of Athlone Credit Union Ltd.
Speaking about the visit, Michael Evans, CEO of Athlone Credit Union Ltd., said, “the entire team and I, in both Northgate and Monksland branches, welcomed the group to our offices. We enjoyed sharing discussions about our mutual businesses in the spirit of co-operation that this visit demonstrates.”
Elijah Mulwa, Education and Training Manager, KUSCCO, noted that the delegation was very thankful to everyone in Athlone Credit Union Ltd.
“Thank you for taking the time to host us and for sharing all this information with us, we have learned a lot and will take this information back to our SACCOs in Kenya. There are lots of similarities between us and we can learn from each other,” Elijah remarked.
Sinéad Lynam, Engagement Officer with the ILCU Foundation thanked Athlone Credit Union Ltd for their wonderful hospitality and their time.
“Credit Unions are financial cooperatives, and around the world financial cooperatives face similar challenges. By sharing experiences and best practice we can address challenges together to ensure sustainability of the cooperative movement globally. The Irish credit union movement is renowned across the world over and this visit to Athlone Credit Union allowed the delegation to understand how credit unions are embedded within the community and learn more about the excellent services it provides to their members. The ILCU Foundation is grateful to Athlone Credit Union Ltd for their continued support of our work,” Sinead commented.