Fianna Fáil has today published a charter to support the growth and development of the credit union sector in Ireland.
Finance spokesperson Michael McGrath stated “Fianna Fáil championed the cause of credit unions in the last Dáil. We were the only party to recognise the proud tradition that credit unions have in communities throughout the country. As banks close branches and restrict in-branch services, credit unions provide important competition and choice to consumers.
“Our Dáil motions put a spotlight on the sector and have resulted in a reassessment by the Department of Finance and the Central Bank of the regulations that are emasculating the sector.
“Michael Noonan has now accepted that the Credit Union’s Restructuring Board’s net use of the Credit Union Funded will be no more than €20 million. This is in contrast to the €1bn cost spoken of by Michael Noonan in 2011.
“While they have close to 3 million members overall, the reality is that the sector is effectively stagnant with the amount of its funds out on loan declining year after year. The sector can only make money if it is able to issue new loans. In too many instances, the ability of credit unions to do just that is being unnecessarily constrained.
“Our charter sets out a number of practical measures which we believe will form the basis of a reinvigorated credit union sector.
- Lift the €100,000 savings cap on credit unions;
- Support IT investment for the future of the sector utilising unused funds set aside for restructuring of credit unions;
- Implement a tiered regulatory approach;
- Support the roll out of new products;
- Ease restrictions on long term lending;
- Extend the role of the Credit Union advisory committee