Lobbying by CU movement during Government Formation Talks

Posted on: 27 May 2020

In advance of the General Election the League extensively lobbied candidates and outgoing TDs and called on credit unions to likewise lobby locally.

We lobbied on the issues contained within the revised manifesto, i.e. 2020 Vision and continued to do so since the election.  During the current Covid - 19 crisis we have written to all TDs to brief them on credit union issues and to call on them to advance the matters contained within our manifesto.

The first and over-arching ask in our manifesto is for a changed basis for credit union policy.  We firmly believe there is a need to radically review credit union legislation.  At this point what credit unions require is not just another plan but legislative change which ensures the Minister for Finance has the effective means to deliver on policy formulation.

Credit unions have remained open providing a lifeline to communities, and reassurance to members.  We sought assistance and flexibility from the Central Bank on a number of issues including:

  • Provisioning guidelines and additional credit

  • Levies, credit unions face substantial additional annual levy payments

  • Regulatory Reserve Requirements

  • Investment Regulations

These technical issues were dealt with in detail in our submission to the Central Bank.  In contrast to the attitude to the banks, no flexibility was shown to credit unions and the Central Bank's response is here.  What we have from successive governments is a lot of affirmation.  What is lacking is any effective action.

At the heart of their communities credit unions are uniquely placed to help reboot our economy post the current crisis and we have recently prepared and submitted a proposal on how credit union funds could be used to provide funding to SMEs.

Despite the Central Bank changing regulations to permit credit union funding for social housing no progress has been made.  Investing in social housing is in keeping with credit unions social mission and the detail of our proposal can be found here.

Increasingly, the credit union is the only open, accessible financial service in the community.  We are not simply an alternative to banks, our movement is a model of community banking with deep roots and widespread affinity that is the basis not just for what we do now, but for delivering a much wider range of services as well.  The Credit Union Advisory Committee (CUACImplementation Report is a part-template for that development.  So is the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Finance report

Our key ask is for the 33rd Dáil to radically review credit union legislation to enable and empower our movement to be a leader in Ireland’s recovery.