Tuesday, 6 October 2015
Department of Social Protection
183. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection for an update on the new personal microcredit scheme currently being developed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34126/15]
A proposal for a Personal Micro Credit scheme in Ireland is currently being developed under the auspices of Citizens Information Board and the Social Finance Foundation.
A preliminary outline of the scheme envisages a microloan facility, operated by Credit Unions, providing small loan amounts (circa €500), over an average term of 12 months, at an interest rate of approximately 12%, with an estimated annual value of €20 million.
There has been extensive engagement in recent months with a number of stakeholders including my Department, Department of Finance, Central Bank of Ireland, Irish League of Credit Unions, Credit Unions Development Association, Credit Union Managers Association, An Post, Money Advice and Budgeting Service and charity organisations, to progress the development of a Personal Micro Credit Scheme.
An Implementation Group, comprising key stakeholders has been established (chaired by Department of Social Protection) to oversee the implementation of the Personal Micro Credit Scheme in a number of pilot sites initially, and, if successful, to national rollout.
To date, 33 Credit Unions throughout the country have indicated agreement to participate in the pilot scheme which is intended to be in place towards the end of this year. The outcomes and learning from the pilot will inform the development of any final model prior to full roll-out.