The Government must ensure that the presence of a network of credit unions in communities right across the country is protected under the restructuring plans announced in the final report of the Commission on Credit Unions today, according to Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath.
Deputy McGrath said: “No credit union must be effectively forced to close its doors under the restructuring arrangements provided for in the Commission’s report. We have been assured today that mergers will be voluntary and this commitment must be honoured.
“Where it is found that some credit unions are unviable and need to merge with stronger credit unions, it is essential that the credit union would remain open albeit as a branch rather than a stand-alone entity. The essential issue is that the services currently being provided to members must continue.
“Credit unions provide essential diversity within the financial services industry. They remain open for business and are still providing loans to their members. Last year alone, over 40,000 new members joined their local credit union. I believe that the volunteer and community ethos of the Credit Union movement has been at the heart of its success and I want to see that continue.
“It is important the Government’s actions on the back of this report are decisive and bring about stability for credit unions. However, the Government must ensure that local communities can retain the confidence they have in their credit union. There are many communities around the country where people fear Government policies will lead to the closure of small rural schools and Garda stations. People will not want a question mark put over their local credit union now as well.
“I support the recommendation of any restructuring being overseen by an expert board and the introduction of a stronger regulatory framework but recognise the report’s conclusion that credit unions should not be regulated on a one-size-fits-all basis.”