By now, we tend to assume that most people know about individual credit unions being independent from one another. It's still easy to treat us or see us like banks, but the main difference setting us all apart from the banks is the need to have a common bond.
You can join any bank, and use any branch, but with credit unions, you need to fall within the common bond, and you can only use the office where you qualify for membership. With the exception of certain credit unions (like us) having sub-offices, each credit union office you come across is separate, independent and detached from all others.
So, if one credit union's office says "Antrim Credit Union" above the door, and another says "Ballymena Credit Union" above the door, they're not the same organisation, and accounts within each one are entirely disconnected from one another.
While each credit union is standalone, we do have larger, linking controlling bodies called leagues or federations. At Antrim Credit Union (ACU), we're regulated and controlled by the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU). Other credit unions under this body are Ballymena, Camlin, Carnglen, Causeway, and many others. This shared regulatory body means that we offer similar services and benefits to members, but are still separate from one another.
All Credit Unions in Northern Ireland are not affiliated through the ILCU. Their logos are different (see below), and they offer different services. Due to these differences we have no direct contact and accounts are not linked in any way.
One such credit union is Muckamore, who are opening a new office on High Street in Antrim. Many people have been asking us; since they started working on their new office, whether or not we are associated with Muckamore, and we have to state that we are not. Plus, while our Randalstown branch is getting a nice upgrade, we're still very happy with our Antrim office, and we're not looking to relocate just yet!
Muckamore credit union are regulated by the Ulster Federation of Credit Unions, which operates separately from the ILCU, offering different services, different products and separate membership options.
We understand that two separate credit unions within two streets of one another is grounds for some confusion, and we want to prevent the staff of Muckamore from having to deal with too many questions about our affiliation! It's more than possible to open accounts within both credit unions, especially if you want the benefits of both organisations, but we'd like to point out that accounts at ACU and accounts at Muckamore CU are not compatible, so remember to bring the right passbook when you're in!
Due to different regulatory bodies controlling our individual organisations, we aren't able to offer a lot of information about Muckamore, so we do apologise for being unable to answer questions put to us by curious members. We can, however, provide you with a link to Muckamore's Facebook group, which contains members and staff alike, who are more likely to have the answers to your questions!
Apologies for having such a dense information post!
If you're interested in opening an account with Muckamore, please do speak to them; just remember that your shares here and your shares there are different!