Dáil debates

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions

Credit Unions

10:25 pm

Photo of Holly CairnsHolly Cairns (Cork South West, Social Democrats) | Oireachtas source

Credit unions play an essential role in so many communities. You are guaranteed to meet a staff member and not to be directed to a machine. We cannot underestimate the importance of that in terms of accessibility. Credit unions have also provided flexible services to people and families who would have been refused by other financial organisations. I would not have been able to do my masters had it not been for my local credit union in Skibbereen.

However, current financial regulations fail to appreciate their community function as cooperatives and the importance of the common bond. Instead they must have excessive limits on their services, and therefore their potential.

They are particularly limited on business and mortgage lending. Concentration limits in the 2019 regulatory requirements put artificial and anti-business limits in place on how much credit unions can lend for these purposes. Will the Minister remove these limits? Credit unions should be monitored through supervisory and reporting tools, not by legislative barriers. Will I be able to come back in?


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