Seven months on from the publication of the Credit Union Advisory Committee (CUAC) report, the Minister for Finance has failed to establish an Implementation Group to ensure the report’s recommendations are acted upon, according to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance Michael McGrath.

CUAC issued its report to the Minister for Finance on the ‘Review of Implementation of the Recommendations in the Commission on Credit Unions Report’ in June 2016 and called for an ‘Implementation Group’ to be established to oversee the implementation of the report’s recommendations.

Deputy McGrath commented, “Credit unions have long argued that the recommendations on the Commission on Credit Unions (2012 report) have been selectively implemented by the Government and the Central Bank in recent years to the detriment of the movement. The CUAC report concludes that the main recommendation of the Commission not implemented relates to the key issue of tiered regulation by the Central Bank.

“Tiered regulation essentially means that a different regulatory approach should be taken with credit unions depending on their size and complexity. The Commission on Credit Unions recommended a tiered approach to regulation. The CUAC report recommended a two-tier approach to regulation. Instead, we have had a ‘one size fits all’ approach to regulation of credit unions by the Central Bank in recent years. This CUAC recommendations needs to be acted upon without any further delay.

“The CUAC report notes that the loan to asset ratio across the sector of 26% is a cause of ‘deep concern’ and that this trend, along with the move towards shorter duration, smaller loans, raises ‘fundamental questions about the credit union business model(s)’. We have heard a lot of lip service from government in recent times about the value of credit unions in communities’ right across the country. Sadly, this is not backed up with action.
“The Minister for Finance needs to move immediately to set up the Implementation Group recommended by CUAC last June and this group needs to set about its work with a degree of urgency given the serious difficulties faced by the credit union movement,” concluded McGrath.