'It's like an episode of Fr Ted' - Report finds credit union prizes won by directors or staff

The Central Bank asked some 300 credit unions how they run their prize draws

'It's like an episode of Fr Ted' - Report finds credit union prizes won by directors or staff

File photo | Image: RollingNews.ie

A report into credit union prize draws is being likened to an episode of 'Fr Ted'.

The Central Bank has found almost one-third of prizes raffled by branches that operate prize draws - which is around 46% of credit unions - were won by directors or staff members between October 2014 and March 2017.

The bank asked some 300 credit unions how they run their prize draws, and it followed up with on-site inspections in 34 branches.

The inspection and survey revealed very poor documentation in a number of credit unions.

An issue was also raised about whether or not auditors - internal and external - are actually reviewing how credit unions operate the draws.

The review was launched following the €2m financial scandal surrounding the now-bust Rush Credit Union.

Allegations were also made that some members of Rush Credit Union were entered into car draws without their permission or knowledge.

Personal finance editor for the Irish Independent, Charlie Weston, says it is an own goal for the sector.

"These car draws, and draws for cash sometimes, they generate a lot of revenue for credit unions.

"But there's an issue around whether that money is being returned to shareholders - the Central Bank is suggesting that money should be returned to the members of credit unions, who are shareholders".

"It does resemble an episode from Fr Ted where he ran a car raffle and he manipulated it so that he won the car.

"The good credit unions who do a very thorough and professional job in running a prize draw will be impacted by this, so it's very unfortunate.

"It really does seem to be a ridiculous own goal that the credit union's to have scored".