Two of the largest credit unions in the west of the country have announced plans to merge. 

The proposed merger would lead to one of the biggest such institutions in the country, with assets of almost €500m and around 100,000 members.  

St Anthony's & Claddagh Credit Union and St Jarlath's Credit Union say members will be given a chance to vote on the proposal, once it is confirmed to be in line with regulatory and legislative requirements by the Central Bank. 

Between them, the Credit Unions have a total of 12 branches across north Co Galway, Galway City and Oughterard.  

They have been collaborating on a number of initiatives in recent years and say a merger is the obvious way to enhance the strength and capacity of both organisations.  

If approved, the merger would be likely to lead to an extended branch network and provide enhanced services to members. 

The matter is likely to be considered for approval at the respective AGMs of both institutions later this year. 

The Credit Union Development Association said the combination of the two unions would be hugely beenficial for members, communities and the county. 

"These credit unions have been at the forefront of some of our major projects which have benefited them and other credit unions throughout the country," said Kevin Johnson, CEO of the Credit Union Development Association (CUDA).

"These have included digital-marketing roll-outs, a retrofit home improvement scheme and a unique mortgage offering."