Brendan Synnott spoke to SiliconRepublic.com about how a Telecom Éireann staff credit union transformed into one that serves ICT workers all over Ireland.
The information, communications and technology (ICT) sector is rapidly expanding in Ireland and in order to address the financial needs of workers in this space, First Tech Credit Union (FTCU) came into being.
Originally established in 1961 as the Civil Service Credit Union and later as the Telecom Éireann employee credit union, FTCU expanded its membership remit to include all ICT sector employees in 2015.
Based on Dawson Street in Dublin, it now caters to more than 15,500 members from more than 200 companies including Microsoft, Vodafone, Symantec and PayPal.
At the helm of FTCU is Brendan Synnott, a career banker who has worked across retail, treasury and wholesale banking for 35 years, with the last 12 years being spent in the credit union and not-for-profit sector.
“I am responsible for making sure that the credit union operates in a compliant manner and delivering the best possible member experience and value. We do not have external shareholders to satisfy as our members are our shareholders and any profit is either distributed to members or reinvested in the business.”
According to Synnott, FTCU is Ireland’s only credit union open exclusively to people working in the ICT sector.
“We understand the challenges that our members face and aim to assist them with market-leading lending rates and a personal service that they will not find anywhere else,” he said.
“Because we have worked with the ICT sector for over 30 years, we know what people in this industry want and need and cater to these.”
Current challenges faced by members include the rising cost of living, high loan rates from other providers, and concerns around financial wellness and budgeting.
Given that its members are exclusively ICT workers, Synnott said the credit union is always on the lookout for ways to improve its digital experience.
“[We] are currently implementing a new member onboarding system where new members will be able to seamlessly apply, upload their supporting documents and receive their member number all through our mobile app,” he said.
The credit union also has 24-hour online access where ICT workers can join, save, borrow and repay through the app. There is also a loan calculator to work out repayment requirements.
“Banking is increasingly becoming digital first and at First Tech, we are embracing this trend and responding to meet our members’ needs.”
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