No. 1 for 7 Years in a Row

Credit unions maintain top spot for Best Customer Experience for seventh year in a row.

For an unprecedented seventh consecutive year, Credit unions have claimed the top position for the best customer experience in Ireland at the official CXi awards announced today. Credit unions are also the only brand to have maintained a constant presence in the Top Ten since the survey began, a testament to the consistency of their CX excellence.

The Customer Experience Insight (CXi) Report is published annually by the CX Company based on a survey carried out on their behalf by Amárach Research. Over 28,000 experiences were evaluated using the CX Framework, including value, channel usage, how important employees are to the customer experience, and net promoter score (NPS) which measures the loyalty of customers to a company.

If you are not a member, maybe its time to pop into your local credit union to see how we can help you to achieve your goals and dreams. Find out more about joining Kilmallock Credit Union.


Speaking at today’s announcement, ILCU Head of Communications, Paul Bailey said, “Credit unions keep topping the CXi poll every year for one key reason – they treat their customers as members. They understand their members’ needs at different stages of their lives and tailor their services accordingly. Best in class customer, or member, experience happens organically with staff not even realising they are ticking all the emotional drivers on which CX is measured. Credit union values and ethos are not just words hanging in a picture frame on the wall of the credit union office – they are put into action on a daily basis by friendly, understanding and people focused staff. This is why credit unions have topped the CXi poll for the seventh year in a row.

Michael Killeen, Chairman of the CX Company, speaking at today’s award ceremony said, “The fact that credit unions have topped the poll again this year comes as no surprise to us in the CX Company. Year on year, we have seen the credit union tick all the emotional drivers which are so important for customers. Not only do they meet their members’ expectations, they continue to exceed them. The achievement of seven in a row is unparalleled anywhere in the world where Customer Experience is measured and it will be some time before this record is broken.

Click here to read the full report.

Junior Savers Week

This week is ‘Junior Savers Week’. Check out our savings tips on our social media pages during the week. Download our savings chart here to set a savings goal and help them track their progress.

Studies* show that giving kids hands-on, real-world experience with money is essential to prepare them financially for adulthood.

In a focus group of Irish parents conducted by the Irish League of Credit Unions and insights company Parents and Brands,* many parents confirmed that physical experiences – like putting coins in piggy bank or savings account, or shopping with a list, was the best way to teach children about money.

The Credit Union have also partnered with educational company Twinkl, to provide free, educational resources for children in primary school, called ‘Start Money Smart’ specifically focused on finance and money. All the materials are available for parents and teachers to download on Twinkl.ie.

A huge part of our ethos at Kilmallock Credit Union is financial education for the everyone in our community. We want to ensure that our future generations are financially educated and empowered. Teaching children the value of money is a real benefit to them in the future and habits learned from an early age last a lifetime. We want to encourage the development of a regular savings habit during Junior Savers Week and want to encourage all children to join us here at the credit union and open their very first savings account!

Fun Activities for Junior Savers Week

Tips for parents / guardians to help children save:

  1. Consider rewarding children for regular saving. Don’t focus on the amount saved, but the fact that they are developing a savings habit. Supporting and rewarding them to save even very small amounts on a regular basis will help to imbed the habit.
  2. Help decide on a savings goal. They will find it much easier to save regularly when they are savings towards something they really want.
  3. Dissuade young people from spending their savings on impulse. Remind them of their savings goal and what they originally wanted to save for. Share with them a story of something that you would have saved for when you were younger.
  4. Help develop a savings plan, calendar or mood-board to highlight when their goal will be achieved. Having a visual prop or a visual ‘countdown’ can also encourage them to stick to their target. Download our savings chart here.
  5. Give pocket money or allowances in small denominations and encourage them to put a little aside. Giving them a transparent piggy bank or jar so they can watch their money physically increase, is also a good idea.
  6. Consider linking pocket money and allowances to chores or responsibilities in the home. This helps to embed the idea that money must be earned. The more effort required to earn their money, the less likely they will be to spend on impulse or all at once.
  7. If pocket money and allowances run out at an early stage, don’t rush to replace them. Providing additional money at the drop of a hat will defeat the purpose of giving a set allowance.
  8. Why not get them to open their own account in Kilmallock Credit Union. This will give them a sense of independence and responsibility.

To open a child’s accounts the following documents are required:

  • Proof of Identity: Current Passport or Birth Certificate for the child. Current and In Date Passport or Drivers Licence for parents.
  • Proof of Address: An original utility bill, bank statement or social welfare document showing your current address. Please Note: Document must be dated within 3 months.
  • Proof of PPSN: for child and parent. Payslip, P60, Revenue correspondence, Old Social Services Card. Please Note: Your payslip must be dated within 3 months.
  • €5.50: This is to open your account and it will be your minimum share balance. This includes a Membership fee of €0.50c and a minimum opening balance of €5.
  • Membership applications for minors can only be completed in-branch.
  • Click here to see our opening hours.

*Ashley B. LeBaron, Brigham Young University – 115 study participants: 90 college students aged 18-30, as well as some students’ parents and grandparents. 2018.
*Parents and Brands, 3 day online panel with 60 parents, July 2021.

Credit Union Art Competition 2021

All you have to do is IMAGINE!

Our hugely popular Credit Union Art Competition returns for another year! You can download the entry form here.

Now in its 38th year, the Credit Union Art Competition strives to encourage artists throughout Ireland through self-expression, creativity and imagination.

This year’s theme “Imagine”, encourages people to explore their thoughts, hopes and dreams, and portray them on paper or canvass.

To quote Albert Einstein, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” Imagination is a powerful tool which helps people escape from reality. Imagination can also be the start of a brilliant idea which could change the world.

WHO CAN ENTER?

There are two categories – General Category & Additional Needs Category – with the following age groups in each category. Age limit applying as at December 31st 2021.

  • 7 years and under
  • 8 – 10 years inclusive
  • 11 – 13 years inclusive
  • 14 – 17 years inclusive
  • 18 years and over (Adult)
HOW DO I SUBMIT MY ENTRY?

Please download the entry form below and attach it to the back of your artwork. You must then drop the artwork to your nearest Kilmallock Credit Union Branch before close of business on Friday 15th October, 2021.

WHAT IS THE CLOSING DATE?

The closing date for entries is close of business on Friday 15th October 2021.

WHAT ARE THE STAGES?

The competition is organised into three stages with the winner in each category being forwarded to the next stage, these being:

  • Stage1 Credit Union Level
  • Stage 2 Chapter (Regional) Level
  • Stage 3 National Level
ENTRY FORM

You can download the entry form here.

Top 20 Irish interior design Instagram accounts to follow

Instagram is a haven for gardeners and home stylers of all kinds; from those looking for practical tips to those filled with unadulterated escapism. Thinking of giving your home and garden a makeover…make sure you check these top 20 Irish interior design instagram accounts.

Here are our top 20 Irish interior design Instagram accounts to follow:

Geri O’Toole Glynn

Locally based interior designer with a wonderful eye for designs and some great tips. LINK: geri_designs

Caroline Flannery

If you are lover of colours, this is the feed for you! LINK: interiorsbycaroline

Wioleta Kelly

Locally based interior designer with photographs full of colour and great attention to detail. LINK: wioleta_kelly

Sara McLoughlin

A feed full of quirkness, colour and plants from Limerick based designer. LINK: saara_mcloughlin

Irish Design Shop

Stocking the very best Irish design and craft. LINK: irishdesignshop

Sara Thompson

Inspiration for all the rooms in your home. LINK: thompsonclarkeinteriors

Colette Lenehan of Neptune

Inspirational photographs for every corner of your home. LINK: neptunebyglobalvillage

Grace Mongey

A feed filled with attainable design and lovely pieces. LINK: fbghome

Cliodhna O’Connor

A graphic designer with an eye for interior design. LINK: the.designerr

Roisin Lafferty of KLD

A feast for the eyes of interiors escapism. LINK: roisinlaffertykld

Arlene McIntyre of Ventura Design

A feast of luxurious interior projects for inspiration. LINK: venturainteriordesign

Suzie McAdam at The Design Seeker

Featuring a range of projects and home furnishings. LINK: thedesign_seeker

Ruth Maria Murphy

Inspirational photos from national and international projects. LINK: ruthmariaphotos

Cian Corcoran and Ahmed Fakhry of Design Goat

For those who love attention to detail and beautifully considered photographs. LINK: designgoat

Cathy McGovern

Beautiful design on a budget. LINK: cathymcgovern_carrowlane

Aisling Nugent

If you are a fan of quirky style, this is a must-follow. LINK: vintagehillcork

Bryan O’Sullivan Studio

High end interiors international inspiration. LINK: bosstudio

Caroline Warde

For lovers of maximalism with pops of colour. LINK: acuriousnest

Yvonne Purcell

For lovers of upcycling and DIY projects. LINK: sixat21

Carlow Paint Hub

Wonderful inspiration before you start on that painting project, with lots of great advice. LINK: carlowpainthub

Big plans don’t have to mean big payments!

Our personal loans are available @ 6% from €30,000 – €50,000 & @4.95% from €50,000 to €100,000. Use our loan calculator to see your repayments.

No appointment needed and new members can join and apply for a loan same day.

2021 Back to School Survey Findings

The latest Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) survey on back to school costs shows the overall spend on school items is up for both primary and secondary schools.

Despite the pandemic lockdowns and children being home schooled for the early part of the year, back to school spending is already on the minds of parents as they prepare for the new school year. The latest Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) survey on back to school costs shows the overall spend on school items is up for both primary and secondary schools.

  • Parents now spending €1,491 per secondary school child – an increase of €24
  • Parents spend €1186 per primary school child – an increase of €63
  • Back to school costs still a challenge for parents with 63% of parents finding it a financial burden
  • A quarter of parents (24%) are getting into debt to cover the costs of back to school with 21% having debts over €500
  • The average debt parents find themselves in is €336
  • 65% of parents believe that schools don’t do enough to help keep the costs of going back to school down
  • 71% of schools still seeking a “voluntary contribution”
  • 65% of parents say that that home-schooling and lockdowns had a negative effect on their child’s overall educational performance

School books once again top the list this year as the most expensive item for parents of secondary school children at €211, up from €196 last year. Extracurricular activities are the top cost for primary school parents at €178, up from €167 last year. Spending on gym gear/sports equipment has increased for both primary school (€77, up €15 from 2020) and secondary school (€121, up €11 from 2020). Significantly, 43% of parents say they will have to deny their children new gym gear, a sharp increase of 16% from 2020. Parents also reported that 71% of schools are still seeking ‘voluntary contributions’.

Funding back to school continues to be a challenge for parents with 63% of parents saying that covering the cost of back to school is a financial burden. Nearly a quarter of respondents (24%) are getting into debt to cover the costs of back to school. Of these, three quarters have debts of over €200 with 21% having debts over €500. The average debt parents find themselves incurring is €336 which encouragingly is down €61 on last year’s figure.

Over two thirds (68%) of Irish parents said they use their monthly income to pay for back to school costs, followed by savings at 36%. Unsurprisingly, the number of parents using savings is up 2% from 2020, possibly due to reduced spending during the lockdown. Those relying on their credit card to pay for back to school costs is also slightly down at 17%, a reduction of 3%. A credit union loan is the preferred choice of 5% of parents, while 3% are still turning to moneylenders. 14% of parents rely on the state’s Back to School allowance, up 1% from last year.

This year’s survey also revealed that 68% of parent’s now shop online for school supplies, a rise of 2% from 2020, with respondent’s citing convenience (61%) as the main reason for doing so.

Impacts of COVID-19 – Home-schooling and Lockdowns

For the second year running, the survey also looked at the impact and concerns brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • 7 in 10 adults surveyed reporting that the mental health of their household has been affected, and almost a third saying that their physical health has suffered.
  • As expected, households struggled with the challenges of home schooling with almost 1 in 3 parents saying they found it difficult to juggle home-schooling with work commitments and over a quarter agreeing that home-schooling was a burden.
  • 1 in 3 parents (35%) said the extra cost of feeding children when home-schooling had the biggest effect on household finances. This was a noticeable increase (14%) from 2020. Over one fifth (22%) of parents reported that expenditure on laptops/tablets to support home-schooling has had an impact on their household finances compared to 11% in 2020.
  • 65% of respondents agreed that that home-schooling and lockdowns had a negative effect on their children’s overall educational performance, and that their children were less focused on schoolwork.
  • One of the biggest impacts of home schooling and lockdowns, according to 88% of parents, was that children missed their friends and social activities. 60% also said that, despite this, children enjoyed being at home and spending more time with family.

New School Year

  • As a result of schools being closed for a number of weeks at the start of the year, 37% of parents think that the school calendar should be adjusted to accommodate for missed time. 31% of respondents believe that a focus should be put on children’s mental health when they return to school in September.
  • While a decision on the rollout of vaccinations to school children in Ireland is being considered by Government, the survey revealed that 72% of parents agree vaccinations should be offered to secondary school students with 48% in agreement for primary school students.
  • The biggest concern for parents about their children returning to school is the impact of a further lockdown (48%), while 41% are worried about exposure to COVID-19 and the health and safety of their children.

Worried about the expenses? We can help!

Talk to us about a low rate student loan at 6% to help with those Back-to-School expenses. Use our loan calculator to see your repayments.

No appointment needed and new members can join and apply for a loan same day.

Celebrating Nora Herlihy

On this International Women’s Day, we would like to celebrate Nora Herlihy, one of the founding members of the Credit Union movement.

At a time when women were not prominent in Irish society, Nora Herlihy, from Ballydesmond on the Cork-Kerry border and who attended secondary school in Newcastle West; played a pivotal role in the foundation of the Credit Union movement; along with Sean Forde and Seamus P. MacEoin. Teaching in Dublin in the 1950s, Nora witnessed the poor living conditions, hunger and sickness caused by the high levels of unemployment in the city. Many people were in the grips of moneylenders. Nora set about putting in place a plan for people to control their own finances and went to study the co-operative system in operation in other places in the world.

On the 6th March 1954 with Thomas Hogan, Nora formed the Dublin Central Co-Operative Society. It was set up to help create employment and to tackle the affliction of emigration. Nora continued in her studies and soon the fledging Credit Union movement was born. The first two Irish credit unions were founded under Nora’s guiding influence. Nora also became the secretary to the ILCU on its founding in 1960 (then called the Credit Union League of Ireland); and it operated from the main living room of her house in Dublin for many years. Nora stood beside President Éamon De Valera, who was raised in Bruree on the Athlacca Road, when he signed the 1966 Credit Union Act into law.

Nora passed away on 7th February 1988, the 28th anniversary of the founding of the ILCU. She left a powerful legacy in a thriving credit union movement.

We would like to acknowledge the incredible work and contribution made by Nora Herlihy which continues to help communities throughout the country.

10 Pumpkin Carving Ideas

We love trying our hand at pumpkin carving. Check out our 10 favourite designs. We’d love to see some of yours…send them to us on our facebook or instagram pages.

Hungry Pumpkin
One of our favourites! Scary and funny in one go.

Evil Witch
This is so great! Pumpkin with accessories for great effect.

Witch Hat
A mashup of two Halloween symbols..make it as simple or as elaborate as you want.

Robot Pumpkin
So simple to carve and so cute!

Peekaboo Pumpkin
More cuteness!

Haunted House
Intricate carving of a haunted house scene.

Flickering Fireplace
Very simple and clever way to bring some Halloween decoration to your sitting room.

Pumpkin Vase
Turn your pumpkin in the perfect table centrepiece.

Spooky Faces
Using a white pumpkin to create a spooky effect.

The Death Star
Wow, just wow!! Advanced carvers only, we think!

Welcome to National Junior Savers Week!

The aim of this week is to encourage children to develop good saving habits for life; it teaches them important planning, budgeting and money management skills. Make sure you download our handy Savings Chart to help your child save.

To encourage your child during this week we also have a fun Colouring page and Activity pages.

Top tips for children saving:

  • Tip One: Set a Savings Goal. Ask children to decide what they’re saving for.
  • Tip Two: Giving pocket money as Small Change makes it easier for children to save!
  • Tip Three: Encourage Saving. Give extra money for good behaviour!
  • Tip Four: Having a Piggybank or Credit Union account means your children can watch their savings grow!
  • Tip Five: Help children Save Regularly so they can achieve their savings goal! Open a Kilmallock Credit Union account – opening an account is one of most important things a parent can do. It helps them to get the habit of regular savings.

This is what you need to open a Kilmallock Credit Union account:

  • Child’s original birth certificate or passport and PPS number
  • Photo ID, address and PPS for the Parent or Guardian who is opening the account on the child’s behalf.
  • Membership fee of €0.50 to open an account.
  • Minimum lodgement of €5.00.

For more information, please call 063 98355 or email info@kilmallockcu.ie.

Top Surf Beaches in Ireland

Is this the year you learn to surf or perfect your hobby? Take a look at our list of the top surf beaches around our beautiful country.

Did you know Ireland has some of the best surfing in the world, with everything from epic big waves to long rolling beach breaks for every level of surfer. There are plenty of surf schools dotted throughout the country offering equipment hire and lessons.

Wherever you venture in Ireland this year, get there with a loan from us! Our Stay@Home Staycation Low Rate Loan is available now at 6% (6.17% APR). You can Apply for a Loan Online. New members can Join & Apply Same Day. You can now Join Us Online or call 063 98355.

MUNSTER

Lahinch, Co. Clare
Possibly Ireland’s best known surf beach and consistently voted one of the top surf spots. It provides a wide variety of waves and conditions for all types of surfers; there are excellent beaches with consistent waves for beginners and plenty of good reef breaks for more advanced surfers looking for a challenge. There is an abundance of surf shops, Lahinch surf schools and accommodation in the town. In May 2006, 44 surfers managed to make a new world record by riding one small wave at Lahinch.

Fanore, Co. Clare
Lying in the heart of the Burren lies the small Fanore Beach. Although not well known, this beach offers spectacular views of the surrounding area and reliable surf, which is perfect for beginners.

Aileen’s Wave, Co. Clare
Our mystical surf spot known internationally as ‘Ireland’s perfect wave’, Aileen’s Wave appears only a few times a year when the conditions are just right. Found close to the Cliffs of Moher, this wave can reach heights of up to 12 metres. This wave is only for professional surfers and even then it’s usually only surfed by the world’s top surfers but it is a joy to watch they surf it, if you get a chance!

Inch, Co. Kerry
A favourite among local and visiting surfers, this beautiful beach is suitable for all levels of surfers. This beach hosts one of the longest waves in Europe for those who have the experience and the fitness to ride it all the way to shore.

Ballybunion, Co. Kerry
One of north Kerry’s best surf spots for the last 20 years. A picturesque location, surrounded by rugged cliffs, the Men’s Beach (as the locals call it) has been a hot spot for surfers for over twenty years. This beach is suitable for beginners and the more advanced surfers, who can head out to the Atlantic Cliff breaks for more challenging waves.

Inchydoney, Co. Cork
The beach at Inchydoney stretches out as far as the eye can see, this beach is perfect for beginners. Don’t forget to check out the waves on the Inchydoney Beach Cam first to make sure your trip is worthwhile.

Castlefreke, Co. Cork
A bit of a hidden gem for intermediate surfers with excellent rips; in rougher seas it offers consistent surf. Long Strand is located just west of Ardfield, near the village of Rathbarry.

Tramore, Co. Waterford
Waterford’s gorgeous Copper Coast is home to the undisputed home of surfing for the east coast. However, the swell is not quite as reliable here as on the west coast, so it is best to check conditions before setting off. The beach is suitable for beginner and intermediate surfers.

ULSTER

Rossnowlagh, Co. Donegal
One of the finest beaches in Ireland to learn how to surf coming with a steady flow of waves and wind providing perfect conditions for all water sports. The beach is also very popular with local windsurfers and kitesurfers. The three-kilometre long, Blue Flag beach is stunning both on and offshore.

Tullan Strand, Bundoran, Co. Donegal
The golden sands of Tullan Strand is a mecca for surfers of all levels, as it catches a lot of swell. If you are looking for lessons, Bundoran is awash with surf schools, all of which are of a really high standard.

Whiterocks, Co. Antrim
Home to consistent surf conditions throughout the year, this long, sandy beach is suitable for surfers of all levels, from beginners to experienced surfers.

Portrush, Co. Antrim
Often described as the centre of Northern Ireland’s surfing scene, this beach produces good quality beach breaks for surfers of all levels and is also a popular destination for bodyboarders.

CONNACHT

Strandhill, Co. Sligo
Strandhill is generally considered to be one of the best beach breaks in the country; this beach break has an easy paddle-out and delivers a reliable stream of waves in both summer and winter. Don’t forget to try out the VOYA seaweed baths are the perfect way to relax after an arduous day in the surf.

Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo
Named one of the best surfing spots in the world by Lonely Planet in 2013, the waves have been known to reach heights of 15 metres. This beach features consistent good waves all year round and is one of the best big-wave surf spots in Ireland.

Easkey, Co. Sligo
This gorgeous little spot was named as one of the must-visit spots for travelling surfers looking for that perfect wave in Surfer Magazine. The waves can be surfed all year round and is suitable for experienced surfers.

Enniscrone, Co. Sligo
The relatively shallow waters of this glorious sandy beach make it perfect for beginners. This 5km strand never seems to get crowded and has a very good surf school.

Belmullet, Co. Mayo
With waves to suit all levels of surfers, the “Black Shore” at Elly Bay, near Belmullet, is recognised as one of the premier surf beaches in Mayo.

If you know of other beaches that should be added to this list, please let us know!

Wherever you venture in Ireland this year, get there with a loan from us! Our Stay@Home Staycation Low Rate Loan is available now at 6% (6.17% APR). You can Apply for a Loan Online. New members can Join & Apply Same Day. You can now Join Us Online or call 063 98355.

Happy surfing!!

Best Books to Curl Up With This Summer

Summer 2020 may be very different from our other summers, but no matter where you’re spending it, a good book is always a great way to escape! We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorites and some we are looking forward to reading.

The Margot Affair by Sanae Lemoine

Friends and Strangers by J. Courtney Sullivan

Walk the Wire by David Baldacci

The Lightness by Emily Temple

Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan

These Women by Ivy Pochoda

Becoming Duchess Goldblatt; A Memoir

Parakeet by Marie-Helene Bertino

The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue

The Weekend by Charlotte Wood

Death in Her Hands by Ottessa Moshfegh

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens