Cara Credit Union Included in Government Scheme to Boost Local SME and Agri Lending

Come in and See Us: Cara Credit Union CEO Pa Laide and Sarah O’Regan, Head of Credit, Cara Credit Union ushering in a new phase of development with Cara’s involvement in the Government’s COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme.  Photograph: Domnick Walsh © Eye Focus LTD.

Seven of Ireland’s largest credit unions, including Cara Credit Union, have been approved under the Government’s COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme (CCGS) to provide low-cost loans for SMEs, with credit decisions being made at local level.

Cara Credit Union is a member of Metamo – the first Credit Union Group to offer loans under the Scheme is a joint venture between 16 Credit Unions and Fexco.

Survival Critical to Localities

With a strong track record in supporting the local community, Cara Credit Union will now be able to provide Government backed loans directly to local SMEs, whose survival is critical to the continued vibrancy and economic well-being of the Tralee, Castleisland and Killorglin areas.

Loans ranging between €10,000 and €1m, for terms of between three months and five-and-a-half years, will be available to local businesses under the scheme.

Cara in the First Wave

Cara Credit Union is included in the first wave of Metamo’s group of credit unions to be ratified under the scheme, which is designed to support SMEs and Agri businesses who are facing challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A key differentiator in the offering of the seven Metamo Credit Unions will be that lending decisions will be made in the community by credit union staff with a deep knowledge of the businesses applying for loans.

Retail, Hospitality and Agriculture

Business sectors in the Tralee, Castleisland and Killorglin area which are in particular need of support includes: retail, hospitality and agriculture.

Pa Laide, CEO of Cara Credit Union, said that the inclusion of Cara in the scheme means that they are ideally placed to support local businesses who have been adversely affected by Covid-19.

“We have a strong track record of working with the community to address the real needs our members face.

“Our approach to the CCGS will be no different, and we look forward to serving the needs of local businesses as they look to recover from a challenging period,” said Mr. Laide.

Record of Local Relationships

Joe O’Toole, chair of the Metamo Credit Union Group, said that they are delighted that the Government has approved seven Metamo Credit Union lenders under the Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme.

“The credit unions gaining approval have the track record and local relationships to engage effectively with businesses needing support.

“Today’s announcement marks the first-time credit unions have been approved to operate with a Government guarantee – a space previously reserved for the large pillar banks.

“Our Credit Unions are keen to support local businesses, knowing that their continued success is in the interests of our members and our communities,” said Mr. O’Toole.

Benefits of Working Together

The approval indicates the success of Cara Credit Union’s involvement in the Metamo model in helping its Credit Unions access unique opportunities and to benefit from the scale of working together.

Metamo was launched in July 2019 so Credit Unions could collaborate together, access centralised expertise, become more efficient and have improved negotiation strength.

Metamo is enabling the sector to broaden the range of services, improve its core offering and access superior terms for the benefit of members.

List of Involvement

The seven Metamo credit unions approved under the scheme have a combined membership of approximately 250,000 members, and are: Cara Credit Union; Mallow Credit Union; First Choice Credit Union; People First Credit Union’; St Canice’s Credit Union; Limerick and District Credit Union and Synergy Credit Union.

Local businesses will be able to apply for lending through the CCGS now. Information is available with a click on the link here:

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