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History of Synergy Credit Union

In the early 1960s a group of community spirited people came together,both local and those whom came to work in the area, to form what was to be called “The Fermoy Civic Action Group “. This group had three main aims, to set up a Public swimming pool, to set up a Toastmasters group and to set up a Credit Union.

Through the active encouragement of the Fermoy Civic Action group, the first meeting of this new venture was held in the Courthouse on November 15th 1965. In those early days the Credit Union officials operated from rented premises at 74 Lower Patrick Street for a weekly rent of ten shillings, formerly a shop belonged to Teddy O Connor. In a few short years from a membership of less than a few dozen, it had quickly grown to over 600. It was clear, with a quickening pace in the growth in membership, that more permanent premises were urgently needed. In 1969 it moved to the recently purchased Clancys premises at 49, Newmarket Street and employed its first full time employee Marie Byrne in 1968.

In 1971, the common bond was extended to the neighbouring parishes of Castlelyons, Rathcormac, Glanworth and Kilworth and Watergrasshill. There were many volunteers who helped spread the news in these areas.


In the mid-70s with membership growing and lengthening queues and a much wider acceptance of the Credit Union it was mooted by the board to move the Main office on to the main thoroughfare in Fermoy which was at that time was Patrick Street . There was no premises suitable at the time and it was a decade before this came to pass. The late 1970s, memorable for all the economic downturns and unemployment issues, proved to be a testing time for credit unions but it was also a time when they were needed more often than before. In 1978 savings had grown to £153,329 and loans were starting to take off equally as fast. Fermoy Credit Union was at this time largely still managed and run on a day to day basis by the directors and volunteers, with a lot of voluntary time and commitment put in by a small group of community spirited people.

The 1980s opened on a more optimistic note with a continued growth in saving and loans to members. In 1983 with the constant encouragement of volunteers and members a new sub office was opened in the community centre in Watergrasshill. 1985 was a huge year for Fermoy Credit Union, computerisation was introduced with the purchase of a Wang computer. Savings were beginning to grow and there was now cash there to meet more of the loans that were being applied for which in turn resulted in increased savings and a big increase in business and membership. In 1988 a milestone was broken, savings had reached £1 million and the Credit Union was now growing at a very fast rate, it was being run with just two full time staff and a lot of voluntary work by directors and volunteers. In February 1989 a new Data General system was purchased to upgrade computer software to the Credit Union Octagon System.


In 1990 a full-time manager (Brendan Cotter) was appointed and this brought the staff up to three (Mary Fitzgerald and Eileen Fox). In 1991 Morgan Spillane’s drapery shop was acquired for development and savings had reached over £2 million. In 1993 on April 20th the last meeting of the Board of Directors of Fermoy Credit Union at 49 Newmarket Street and a week later on the 29th April 1993 the doors of the new Credit Union Office at 27 Patrick Street were opened for the first time. In 1995 after many years of hard work and promotion, Fermoy Credit Union came to be the place to come for a personal loan and a place to save for that rainy day.

In 2004 Fermoy Credit Union reached another milestone, the savings had reached over €50 million, loans to members had reached over €32.5million and a fully automated Office in Glenville. In 2005, the AGM was moved to Tuesday 15th of November from its “traditional” Thursday night to coincide with the first meeting of Fermoy Credit Union held in the Courthouse on Monday 15th of November 1965. 2005 was another fantastic year for Fermoy Credit Union and it is fitting that after 40 years of quality service to our members that we are now one of the top performing Credit Unions in the country. This is reflected in this years’ annual report with members saving now reaching over €63.3million and loans to members reaching over €38.4m. 2005 was also a very special year for Fermoy Credit Union as this was the year that the board decided to honour the memory of the late Michael Murphy by having a special award for the Volunteer of the Year. These were very good years for both the general economy and the credit union with massive growth being seen in all areas, but it did not last..


An initial slowdown in economic growth through 2007 and mid-2008 was greatly intensified by the wider international financial crisis of 2007-08, then centred on the United States and United Kingdom, in late 2008. This lead to major political change and financial crisis in Ireland and involved the country's fall into recession for the first time since the 1980s. Unemployment rose to over 16% in the locality and the Credit Union suffered badly , in many cases due to no fault of their own many loan repayment agreements could not be fulfilled. We worked with members as always to get them back on track, rescheduled loans and reduced repayments and in the worst case scenarios froze interest and wrote off loans.( still collectable but over a long period). Although economic growth returned from the start of 2010, unemployment (particularly in the construction sector) has remained at higher levels than seen since the 1980s, as has emigration.

Fermoy Credit Union faced these challenges head on like it has faced many challenges in the past. Fermoy Credit Union had to increase the Standard Loan rate to 12%, reduced staff hours and began a very intensive cost cutting exercise. The Board of Directors had a very difficult period during this time with many difficult decisions to make. One of the major blows to the credit union at this time was loss of an investment of over €1m with Anglo Bank. (We are still in discussions with government along with other credit unions as this was classed as a secure deposit).

In late 2014 the unemployment rate was 11.0% on the seasonally adjusted measure, still over double the lows of the mid-2000s but down from a peak locally of over 16% in early 2012.

Fermoy Credit Union is now again making a surplus, staff are back to normal hours and the credit union is looking towards growth again. We have just installed a new IT infrastructure system that will allow us to offer more services in the future. Fermoy Credit union will endeavour to continuously meet the wants and needs of its membership through excellent service and fair and equitable financial services.


The Volunteers who give up a lot of their spare time to oversee and direct the operations of Fermoy Credit Union are the backbone of the organisation and besides the Board of Directors, there is also the oversight committee and the many members who serve on the various committees that are at the heart of the efficient running of Fermoy Credit Union.

Fermoy Credit Union is celebrating almost fifty years of progress. The success is, of course, partly due to individuals who have given huge personal commitment to the ideals of the co-operative movement but it is also due to the general membership of Fermoy Credit Union who have supported and challenged the board, the volunteers (who have come forward from its own ranks) and the staff through the medium of the AGM and the other points of contact. We hope that this support will continue and the sustained progress will continue for another fifty years. The future is in your hands, remember always the Credit Union is you, the member.

Contact Us
  • Synergy Credit Union
  • Tel: 1800 272927
  • Fax: 025 32503
  • Email:
  • Address: 27/29 Patrick Street, Fermoy, Co Cork
Opening Hours
Fermoy Branch
  • mon
  • tue
  • wed
  • thu
  • fri
  • sat
  • 10:00am - 4:00pm
  • 10:00am - 4:00pm
  • 10:00am - 4:00pm
  • 09:30am - 4:00pm
  • 09:30am - 4:00pm
  • 09:30am - 1:30pm
Watergrasshill Branch
  • tue
  • fri
  • sat
  • 10:00am - 2:00pm
  • 10:00am - 4:00pm
  • 09:30am - 12:00pm
*closed for lunch 12:30 - 1:30pm
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Synergy Credit Union Ltd is Regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Reg No. 126 CU