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Turning to those you trust this Christmas

Community 3 min read

01 Dec 2021

Have you been affected by the withdrawal of services by a bank or moneylender in recent months?

According to a new survey published by the Society of St. Vincent De Paul, there is real concern that those struggling may turn to illegal money lenders this Christmas season. In particular, with the withdrawal of Provident from the Irish Market, many will feel like they have nowhere to turn this festive season.

We are here to remind you, that credit unions exist in every town and village across the island of Ireland. The sole purpose of the credit union is to meet the needs of the members who walk through their doors.

As soon as you become a member you can apply for a loan and avail of all the services credit unions have to offer. If you previously had a credit union account but haven’t used it in a while, this can easily be reactivated. Even if you have a poor credit history, talk to us, we’re here to help.  And, unlike banks and other lending institutions, credit unions operate on a not-for-profit basis with any surplus funds put back into developing new services for members or supporting their local communities.

In 2020, credit unions issued over 138,000 loans under €2,000 to a total value of €137 million. 25% of credit union borrowers take out loans of less than €2,000.
Commenting on Provident’s withdrawal from the UK and Irish markets, ILCU President Helene McManus said, “Providing access to credit for those most in need was the reason credit unions were founded and it remains true today as it did in the 1950s.

Credit unions remain open and are committed to providing loans of all sizes to members and potential members in local communities across the country, North and South. I would strongly encourage anyone in need of a small loan to contact their local credit union, even if they aren’t currently a member or have a poor credit history, to discuss their financial requirements instead of going to a moneylender. Credit unions will assist borrowers to transition from their existing moneylender.”

All credit unions offer small loans and the maximum loan rate which a credit union can charge is 12% (12.68% APR). Over 100 credit unions in the Republic offer the ‘It Makes Sense Loan’, a scheme aimed at credit union members or potential members who are in receipt of a social welfare payment. Existing credit union members can contact their participating credit union to apply for the loan. Those who are currently not members will need to join their local credit union before applying for the loan.
For illustrative purposes, a loan of €500 from a credit union typically repaid over 6 months will accrue interest of €15 compared to €150 interest charged by licenced moneylenders for the same loan over the same period.
So, if you have been impacted by the recent decisions of certain banks and moneylenders, contact your local credit union today, you’ll be welcomed with open arms!