Thursday, 25 October 2018
Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions
Banking Sector Reform
11. To ask the Minister for Finance the progress being made in the establishment of the promised stakeholder forum on foot of the conclusions of the public banking investigation; the organisations which are stakeholders; when a tender for the independent evaluation of the local public banking concept will issue; if the stakeholder forum will be involved in the selection of the external evaluator; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43976/18]
This relates to the proposal to have a stakeholders' forum on local banking drawing in the credit unions and post offices and which might be inspired by the Sparkasse model in Germany, about which my colleague, Deputy Penrose, has addressed the House on a number of occasions. When will this take place? Will it be like the processes with credit unions or social housing in that it will be drawn out over years, meaning in practice that the issue will be left sitting there?
As the Deputy is aware, my Department and the Department of Rural and Community Development published a report on local public banking at the beginning of July. The report concluded there was not a compelling case for the State to use Exchequer funding, which I remind the Deputy was approximately €150 million, to establish a new local public banking system.
However, as set out in the report on local public banking, my Department will commission an independent, external evaluation to establish if there is a requirement for local and community banking in Ireland.
As part of our continued engagement with key public banking stakeholders, my Department has consulted with Irish Rural Link and others in the development of the terms of reference which will form the basis of the evaluation the consultants will conduct. I was involved in the tendering process for this yesterday, and believe that the tender process will be concluded by the end of this year, with a view for the evaluation process to begin in early 2019.