Gardaí investigating possibility €200,000 was stolen...
The bad PR for Ireland's credit unions continues to flood in as Gardaí in Cork investigate a potential €200,000 theft in the county's second branch scandal in less than two weeks.
A member of staff is accused of raiding accounts at the Gurranabraher credit union. According to the Irish Examiner, that staff member has been dismissed from their job.
They were allegedly engaged in the misappropriation of members' funds for a number of years before the problem "arose internally". The investigation has also been referred to the Central Bank.
The Gurranabraher branch has assured customers that it is insured to cover such matters – none of its over 15,000 members have been exposed to a loss as a result of the matter and it will have no impact on its services.
It said in a statement:
"Gurranabraher Credit Union is a financially strong and stable credit union, with over €96m in assets."
Last Thursday, Synergy credit union in Fermoy reported suspected fraud of €407,442.
Gardaí are now investigating a series of "unauthorised transactions" at Synergy, with an internal investigation finding that 29 member accounts had been affected.
The credit union said that all these accounts were "replenished".
The Irish League of Credit Unions argued that "while any instance of this nature is extremely regrettable, such incidents remain very isolated."
"As credit unions are democractic and fully accountable to their members," an ICLU spokesperson continued, "where such incidents occur, it often comes to public attention.
"This is distinctly different to other financial institutions where such incidents may be dealt with via a closed internal process."
The spokesperson added that branches continue to strengthen their systems of internal control.
Aside from dealing with this kind of fraudulent staff activity, the Irish credit union has been in the spotlight of late for risk-taking and regulation breaches.
In March, Drimnagh credit union was fined €125,000 by the Central Bank for illegally paying its directors and a number of other breaches, including a failure to implement adequate procedures to prevent and detect money laundering.
Rush Credit Union was placed into liquidation last year following the discovery of a €4.7m hole in its reserves and allegations of financial mismanagement.
In December, Bray Credit Union was fined €98,000 due to "significant failings" in its anti-money laundering / countering of the financing of terrorism framework and procedures.