Dáil debates

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions

Credit Unions

9:05 pm

Photo of Seán FlemingSeán Fleming (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Deputy for his question and, in answering it, I will refer to the sector's involvement in social housing projects. Following a review of the investment framework for credit unions in 2017, the Central Bank introduced amending investment and liquidity regulations for credit unions. Since 1 March 2018, credit unions have been permitted to invest in regulated investment vehicles where the underlying investments are investments in tier 3 approved housing bodies, AHBs, for the provision of social housing.

The regulations require that investments by credit unions in tier 3 AHBs must be made through a regulated investment vehicle. The maximum permitted investment amount per credit union is 50% of a credit union's regulatory reserves where a credit union has total assets of at least €100 million and 25% of a credit union's regulatory reserves for all other credit unions. These limits may facilitate a combined sector investment in tier 3 AHBs of close to €700 million. It is a very substantial investment that can be facilitated.

As such, the Government and the Central Bank have fulfilled their role and it is now up to both the credit union and social housing sectors themselves to progress and develop any specific funding mechanisms. I understand three groups are seeking to establish special purpose vehicles, SPVs, to allow investment into tier 3 AHBs, including the two credit union representative bodies, the Irish League of Credit Unions and the Credit Union Development Association. It should be noted that the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage has primary responsibility for the formulation and implementation of policy and for the preparation of legislation relating to housing.


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