Ongoing support needed for Credit Unions

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The need for ongoing state support for Credit Unions was highlighted at last week’s meeting of the Public Accounts Committee by East Galway TD Paul Connaughton, who said that local credit unions are at the heart of family finances all across the country.
Last week members of the Public Accounts Committee met with Rebo, the Credit Union Restructuring Board along with the Central Bank and the Department of Finance and discussed the issue of mergers between Credit Unions.
Deputy Connaughton asked what happens if Credit Unions do not want to merge and was informed that it is a completely voluntary process. ‘However, the crux is that if you don’t decide to merge within the next year, the option is no longer open because the legislation used to establish Rebo determined that it is to wind up operations at the end on 2015, after which Credit Unions will be on their own in terms of mergers.
‘I believe that the government should give every support necessary to Credit Unions to ensure that they can flourish as they are a key element of everyday financial life for households across the country and without their support many families would not be able to access the finance needed for exceptional or unexpected costs. If that means that the end date of the legislation establishing Rebo needs to be re-examined, then that must be done in 2015.
‘Credit Union members were not responsible for the banking collapse and the small loan which is only available from the local Credit Union is the lifeblood of many family finances. I would be concerned about the safety net that would be extended to Credit Unions and by extension to Credit Union members, after Rebo finishes at the end of 2015.
‘At the meeting I also raised the issue of credit unions sharing services with An Post, particularly in rural areas where postal services are being withdrawn. In coming months, I plan to work with the Department of Finance and Credit Unions to further this issue.’