John Buckley is the newly appointed Chairperson of Crosshaven-Carrigaline Credit Union, having recently taken over the voluntary role from Sean Roberts. During what is a challenging financial landscape for the Credit Union movement, John seems to be a calm, steady figure to steer the organisation through.
Writes Jack White
Describing himself as “Cork to the core”, John Buckley is a resident of Crosshaven since 2005, when himself and his wife moved to the village from Cork City as John took early retirement in his mid 50’s, following a wide-ranging career in the insurance industry.
Originally from Rathcooney and educated firstly at Coláiste Chríost Rí in Turners Cross and then at The Insurance Institute, John’s first love of the wider Crosshaven area came when as a child his family used to holiday in Fennels Bay for a couple of weeks every summer.
“I always loved the area, from those early days holidaying in the summer”, he says. “In the back of my mind during my career, I probably always thought I would like to move to Crosshaven but for most of that time the Jack Lynch Tunnel didn't exist and with a busy work and family life, the move just didn’t happen. But, once early-retirement became an option, we finally made the move in 2005 and have loved our time in Crosshaven over the 16 years since.”
John’s career in the insurance industry saw him working with Norwich Union and Aviva and he saw many angles of the industry, working in underwriting sales and management as well as broking and the direct ends of the business.
John’s earliest memories of the credit union movement came, he says, from his mother, who “always had an affection for the Credit Union”. A reflection of the co-operative movement on which Credit Unions are structured was reflected in parts of his career too, he says, where at Norwich Union there was a co-op type set-up which he admired.
John became a volunteer with Crosshaven-Carrigaline Credit Union in 2017, going on to serve for 4 years as the secretary of the Board Oversight Committee.
At the Credit Union’s AGM in March 2021, John took a leap as he volunteered his name and was elected as Chairperson of the Board Of Directors.
As Chairperson, John is now at the forefront of the local Credit Union’s decision making and he is acutely aware of the pressure to perform given the fine history of the local offices, volunteers and staff who have been serving their members for 53 years.
“As a co-operative, loans are our primary funding model now”, says John. ‘While we are well capitalised, the global financial situation of low interest rates means we are now being charged by banks to hold our deposits. Therefore, we have to grow our loan book in order to survive”, he says.
“I want to get the message out there that our wonderful, local staff in both Crosshaven and Carrigaline are there to help with new loan applications. As a community based organisation, we want to help our members to fund their home renovations, car purchases, holidays or whatever else as the economy grows in the second half of this year.”
“The volunteering world is still alive and well”, says John, “and we need more volunteers with experience. Particularly those with experience in minute-taking and professional administration, or people who have worked in the financial services sector, we’d love to hear from them if they have time to give”, he says.
“As a board and group of volunteers (none of whom are paid), we get advice from highly qualified people. With that, we will continue to work hard every year to make a small surplus and keep the Credit Union in a strong position for our members”, he says.
“You get more by giving”, says John in conclusion, who is looking forward to facing the challenge head-on during his tenure. To find out more about the local Credit Union, visit: croscarcu.ie