After welcoming the public to their Northgate Street premises for more than two decades, Athlone Credit Union is now open in Irishtown across from Golden Island and Dunnes Stores.
“We’ve had a great reaction to the move both from our staff and our members,” Mr. Michael Evans, Athlone Credit Union CEO, remarked.
With Midlands 103 broadcasting live from 9am to 3pm, Michael Mc Glone Chairperson (board of directors ) cut the ribbon as he welcomed the first members of the day to our new office in Irishtown.
“This is a significant day for the members of Athlone Credit Union. Our new Irishtown office is spacious and accessible with the latest IT and technology and we have taken the opportunity to align the opening hours of both Monksland and Irishtown branches to suit our members. Both offices are now open Monday to Thursday 9.30am to 5pm, Friday 10am to 7pm and Saturday from 10am to 2pm,” Michael asserted.
Athlone Credit Union has an ever growing membership of almost 20,000 people. It was established in 1966 and its Northgate Street premises officially opened in 1997.
However, a members’ survey completed about 18 months ago highlighted a need for a bigger and more accessible public office with more options for parking.
“The Northgate Street office is dated and had outlived its capacity for supplying what members want. They want privacy and modern facilities. For example, we don’t have any wheelchair accessible counters or accessible meeting rooms (in Northgate Street ).
“The new office is 2,500 square feet and we’ve fitted it out to a high specification. We have five tellers there, and three loans officers, and we hope that as a result of the new premises and the investment in improved technology, we will be able to continue to improve the service to our members,” Michael added.
A number of the Athlone Credit Union’s staff continue to work from the Northgate Street building, so the premises will remain important to the organisation even though it will no longer be open to the public.
“It will serve as a ‘back office’, in that all our accounts, compliance, credit control, and my own office, will be based in Northgate Street. All of the phones will be answered here, all of the online activity will be dealt with in Northgate Street, and in time we hope to develop it as a members’ service centre, so that all communication will come through that office.
Approximately 25 staff work for Athlone Credit Union, four of whom are based in the Monksland branch which has recently undergone a major refurbishment.
The products offered to members include a share account, which is essentially a savings account, as well as a wide range of loans for returning to school, going to college, buying a car, or home renovations.
“We now also offer home loan mortgages for the first time, so call into our new home to talk to one of our loans officers about your new home,” Michael enthused.
Mr. Evans described it as a “significantly-sized” credit union, with €99 million in assets and a €25 million loan book.
“In Athlone Credit union we manage our members savings for the benefit of all members. You’re not dealing with a publicly-floated company on the stock market. All of those assets are owned by members in Athlone, and are being lent out to people from Athlone,” Michael stated.
He said another advantage of being a member of Athlone credit union is the personal interaction between members and staff, something which has become a rarity in other financial institutions.
“Some other financial institutions have lost contact with the customer. If you go into most banks nowadays, you’re directed to a machine. That’s not our intention.
“Our intention is that you will always have the option of dealing with a knowledgeable and helpful staff member on a face to face basis. So I believe we offer a superior service to any member who is contacting us, online, on the phone or in either of our branch offices” Michael concluded.