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Credit Unions can and will become the primary financial institution of choice

Posted on: 22 Apr 2023

The Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) is this weekend holding its 2023 AGM at the INEC in Killarney. Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, T.D. Minister for State with responsibility for Financial Services, Credit Unions and Insurance at the Department of Finance will address the AGM, the theme of which is ‘Ambition to Action’.

“With retail banks exiting the market and pillar banks retrenching and reducing their footprints, credit unions are increasing their future commitment to existing and new members. Credit unions offer a genuine alternative to Irish consumers and are evolving to meet their future needs, broadening their range of loan offerings to include personal loans, mortgages, business loans, secured and unsecured, community and agricultural loans.

Mr Malone continued, “This future focus is driven by ambition, built on existing public trust, and anchored in ongoing innovation across the credit union sector. Credit unions across the island of Ireland today count approximately 3.6 million people as members and in the last year, the movement has provided 200,000 loans of less than €2,000, helping people navigate the daily challenges from the cost-of-living crisis.

“We are present and active in communities day-to-day. With over a 40% leading market share in personal lending and an increased focus on growing our footprint and providing much needed competition and choice in the mortgage and SME lending markets – we are ambitious. We understand that this can only be realised through innovation, which our member unions are driving. Today, many credit unions are increasing their digital member and loan application services, complimented by the opportunity for face-to-face contact and instant phone access.

Mr Malone concluded, “There is a collective vision for credit unions and while the new Bill delivers future opportunity, the sector could do even more if it were subject to fairer and more proportionate regulations. We need a review of credit union regulations in respect of regulatory capital, liquidity and lending limits applied to mortgage and business lending. This would provide a platform for credit unions to unlock their potential and provide much needed choice to consumers in a highly concentrated banking sector. Credit unions are highly regulated, well run, well capitalised, trusted and member focused financial services providers that are committed to Irish communities, whose ambition needs to be supported”.