Government must act now to sustain Credit Unions

February 24, 2017

The Social Democrats have drawn attention to today’s report from the Central Bank of Ireland on the financial conditions of credit unions. The report points to a number of significant business challenges for credit unions and says that without further development, their long term sustainability is under question.

Social Democrats Co-Leader Róisín Shortall TD said:
“A vibrant and expanded community banking sector is a crucial part of reinvigorating business in the regions. The Government has for too long ignored the potential of the credit union and post office sector. If it doesn’t do something quickly, these vital institutions could wither away.”

The Social Democrats have repeatedly highlighted both the need and the demand for a community banking service in Ireland – a move that could benefit small to medium businesses and individuals throughout the country as well as helping to safeguard the future of the credit union and post office network across the country.

“We have proposed that the existing credit union and post office network would work in conjunction with the State and the Central Bank of Ireland to provide full service banking facilities in communities throughout Ireland”, continued Shortall.

“Today’s report from the Central Bank says that without changes to the development of products and services offered by credit unions they are unlikely to develop sufficiently to ensure a sustainable business model into the future.”

“This has ramifications not just for the credit union sector but for the hundreds of thousands of people who prefer to deal with their financial affairs locally and, in so far as possible, away from the banking fees and legacy issues of the big banks.”

“Empowering the credit union network to address the challenges it faces in the medium to long-term can not only help secure the sector but can also provide a community based financial services option that can work to the benefit of all.”

[ENDS] 24th February 2017