The Central Bank has reprimanded and fined Dublin's Savvi Credit Union a total of €185,500 for three breaches of credit union legislation.  

Savvi, one of the country's biggest credit unions with over 21,000 members, has admitted the breaches.

Savvi was formerly know as St Patrick's Credit Union (ESB Staff) and served as the credit union for ESB staff and retired staff only. 

But in recent years, it came together with four other local credit unions in the Dublin city centre area and renamed itself as  Savvi Credit Union.

The Central Bank said the breaches at Savvi occurred between 2013 and 2017.

The credit union failed to comply with the Central Bank's limit for long-term loans, it failed to put in place appropriate systems, controls and governance arrangements to manage long-term lending and also paid a director, which is prohibited under credit union legislation.

Savvi reimbursed travelling expenses, totalling €28,341, to one of its directors over a period of four years in excess of the applicable Civil Service Rates.  

The Central Bank said this constituted the payment of remuneration.

It determined that the appropriate fine was €265,000, which was reduced by 30% in accordance with the settlement discount scheme provided by its Administrative Sanctions Procedure.

Seána Cunningham, the Central Bank’s Director of Enforcement and Anti-Money Laundering, said that Savvi's breach of the long-term lending limit is a serious matter for the Central Bank. 

"There should be no conflict between business activity such as providing loans and compliant behaviour and actions," Ms Cunningham said. 

"This will be particularly important as credits unions seek to increase the provision of long-term lending such as mortgages to their members," she added. 

Ms Cunningham said that credit union lending will continue to be an area of focus.

"Today's enforcement action should send a clear message to the sector that credit unions must take a responsible and prudent approach to ensure compliance with their regulatory requirements," she added.