Sign of the times: the city savings bank buys the bank


A credit union bought a bank.

In a move seen as a sign of the times, Bantry Credit Union in Cork has bought the Bank of Ireland’s branch building in the city.

The building has been vacant since last year, when the bank in the quaint seaside town closed after half a century.

The former bank building is adjacent to the existing credit union building.

Now the lender, which has 13,000 members, is to move into the historic old bank building.

And the credit union has promised to restore an ATM that was lost when the bank closed.

The Irish Free State’s first Governor-General, Tim Healy, was born in the building.

Bantry Credit Union chief executive Finbarr O’Shea said: “The little shop next door buys the bank. And we are restoring an ATM that the exiting bank took away when it closed.”

He said the credit union needed a larger building to accommodate the growing level of service it provides to its members.

The lender has assets of EUR 90 million and has expanded its range of services to include online and mobile account access, debit card payments and SME lending.

Mr O’Shea said €400,000 was paid for the premises, which came on the market in March with a target price of €280,000.

“The most important value for us is that our new premises are right next door. We are thus expanding our range of services and offering our members more comfort and consultation rooms,” he said.

Buying the building is a big step, he added.

“But it was also child’s play. And our board firmly believed that this was a sound business decision.”

It’s not the first time a credit union has taken over a former bank branch, but it’s highly unusual. Sign of the times: the city savings bank buys the bank

Fry Electronics Team

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