Cara Credit Union in Tralee has 43,000 members and in the past year alone has lent out a staggering €40m. 

What people use this money for is as varied as it is interesting and sometimes it is vital.

74 year old Thomas needs a cataract operation but he has spent over two years on the HSE waiting list and if he waits much longer he might lose his sight completely.

A loan of €2,000 will pay for a private surgery in Belfast and whilst the cost will get refunded to him he has to pay up front. Loan officer Maurice O’Donoghue helps him through the process of applying for a loan. 

Also in Tralee we meet country music singer Michael who treats us to an impromptu performance in the loan office. He has dreams of making it big in Nashville - if he can afford the airfare. 

In Mullingar - one of the country's biggest Credit Unions – Eugene has dragged his son Gary into the loan office to pay him back for a recently purchased car.

But sorting the finance is only one issue, Gary can not even drive yet and dad Eugene is losing patience trying to teach him.