ILCU welcomes publication of Finance Committee Report

Media Release: 29 November 2017

ILCU Welcomes the Review of the Credit Union Sector by the Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform and Taoiseach
The Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) welcomes today (29th November 2017) the publication of the report on the Review of the Credit Union Sector by the Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach.
The Report makes a number of strong recommendations in relation to the support and development of the credit union sector. In particular, the Committee has recognised that a timely review of the legislative and regulatory requirements is required to ensure that they are proportionate and fit for purpose.  
It is particularly welcome that the Joint Committee endorses the ILCU’s proposal to allow the credit union movement to lend to approved housing bodies and help to mitigate the current housing crisis. The ILCU presented its ideas on this to the Joint Committee earlier this year.
The ILCU also welcomes the Report’s recommendation that the tiered regulation of credit unions should be implemented to ensure a proportionate application of the regulations taking into account the individuality and diversity of credit unions in the movement.
The ILCU also welcomes the Report’s endorsement of a review of the Section 35 lending and concentration limits which, if amended, will allow credit unions to develop and grow beyond the current permitted limits.
In relation to housing, the Report strongly supports the ILCU’s view that the credit union movement should be empowered to contribute to alleviate the housing crisis in the State. The ILCU, following a specific request from Government, has developed a detailed Social Housing Funding proposal to highlight how credit union funds could be used to fund the provision of social housing. The Central Bank’s current consultation (CP109) is now considering enabling credit unions to invest in social housing and if acted on, will be a significant step forward. Should this be enabled, the remaining roadblock is the establishment of a financial vehicle, as committed to by Government in the  Rebuilding Ireland report. To date no such vehicle has been established.
In relation to the levies and contributions imposed on credit unions, the ILCU strongly agrees with the Committee’s recommendation that these levies be urgently and transparently reviewed and that the uncertainty regarding future contributions inhibits credit unions’ ability to plan ahead.
This agreed all-party report, is a further endorsement of the critical importance of the credit union movement and identifies important measures which need to be taken to support the further development of credit unions in communities across the country. The ILCU will continue to engage with the various stakeholders to bring these important enhancements to fruition.

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