Barry Cowen TD
Fianna Fáil TD for Offaly Barry Cowen says the Finance Minister needs to move quickly to put a strategy in place to ensure the Credit Union sector can grow and develop.
The call comes following concerns about new restrictions which have been placed on Credit Union deposits, which imposed a maximum limit of €100,000 on individual members’ savings.
As part of the Fianna Fáil Confidence and Supply Arrangement, Minister Michael Noonan pledged to support the growth and development of the Credit Union sector.
Deputy Cowen commented, “Fianna Fáil has been fighting the cause for Credit Unions over the course of the last Dáil term. We recognise the fact that Credit Unions are rooted in community and provide a local service to local people. In many towns and villages across Offaly, Credit Unions are the go to financial institution for savings and loans. Their community ethos and local knowledge adds to the trust in which they’re held and at a time when banks are increasing charges and reducing services, Credit Unions provide an important choice for consumers.
“After new legislation governing Credit Unions was passed last year, a maximum limit of €100,000 was imposed on individual members’ savings by the Registrar of Credit Unions. We raised concerns about these limits and the possible reputational damage that they would have on the sector. Following a Fianna Fáil Private Members motion on the issue, the Central Bank agreed to allow Credit Unions that held individual members' savings in excess of €100,000 at the time of the regulations coming into force, to apply for approval to the Central Bank to retain these savings, subject to certain criteria.
“These unnecessary constraints being placed on Credit Unions sent out a signal that people should be worried about the amount of money that they were keeping in their local branch. This has caused unwarranted stress and anxiety for Credit Union members and staff.
“Minister Noonan must lead the way in restoring confidence in Credit Unions by moving on his promise to develop a strategy for the growth and development of the sector without delay”.