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Credit union hit with major fine

Central Bank of Ireland

A Dublin-based credit union has been fined by the Central Bank of Ireland (pictured above) after an investigation identified seven breaches.

Drimnagh Credit Union Limited was fined €125,000 (approximately £109,706) and reprimanded after admitting to two breaches of the Credit Union Act 1997 (CUA 1997) and five breaches of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010 (CJA 2010).

The CUA 1997 breaches occurred from 1st August 2013 to 30th November 2014 and related in part to prohibited payments to certain directors and a board oversight committee member of Drimnagh Credit Union in breach of section 68 of the act.

The central bank also found failings in the credit union’s systems of control in relation to the claiming, recording and approving of officers’ expenses.

Derville Rowland, director of enforcement at the Central Bank of Ireland, said: “The making of prohibited payments to officers in breach of the CUA 1997, and the lack of robust systems of control in this regard, meant that Drimnagh Credit Union was failing in its primary purpose, to safeguard and protect members’ funds.

“This is highly concerning behaviour and breaches of this nature will not be tolerated by the central bank.”

The investigation by the central bank also found that Drimnagh Credit Union breached the CJA 2010 five times from the act’s introduction on 15th July 2010 to 25th September 2015.

These breaches represented significant and widespread failings in the credit union’s anti-money laundering and countering of the financing of terrorism framework.

The investigation found particular failings with regard to Drimnagh Credit Union’s implementation of policies and procedures, conducting customer due diligence, monitoring its dealings with members and the monitoring and management of its compliance with the CJA 2010.

Derville continued: “The fine and reprimand demonstrates that the central bank will not hesitate to take enforcement cases against credit unions to ensure the highest standards of regulatory compliance across the sector.

“It is incumbent upon all credit unions, irrespective of their size or scale, to be aware of and to comply with all applicable regulatory requirements and to have robust systems and controls in place to ensure full compliance.

“Failure to do so can undermine the credibility and financial stability of the sector and the central bank will take action as appropriate where non-compliance is identified.”

In a statement, the board of Drimnagh Credit Union added: “The credit union co-operated fully with the Central Bank of Ireland in this process and a settlement was reached.

“Drimnagh Credit Union Ltd can assure members that their savings and deposits are not affected in any way by this, and that they can continue to do business with the credit union in the usual way.

“The credit union has rectified these matters [the breaches], the funds are being repaid, and all necessary and appropriate steps have been taken to resolve the issues fully.”

Drimnagh Credit Union currently provides saving and loan services to more than 6,000 members.

The Central Bank has confirmed its investigation into Drimnagh Credit Union in respect of this matter is now closed and it has taken steps to rectify the breaches identified in the investigation.

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