Increased Credit Union collaboration welcome

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Increased collaboration among credit unions, including Tuam and Mountbellew Credit Unions in county Galway, has been welcomed this week by Galway East TD Paul Connaughton.

This week saw the announcement of increased co-operation and collaboration between credit unions in Tuam and Mountbellew, a fact welcomed by Deputy Connaughton, who said that he is very supportive of the idea of credit unions working together to achieve greater sustainability and to allow them to provide a wider range of services to customers.

Deputy Connaughton highlighted the importance of credit unions to local families during Dáil Debate on Private Members Business earlier in the week. Speaking in the Dáil, Deputy Connaughton noted the frustration that exists among credit union management in relation to consultation with regulatory authorities. ‘We had light touch regulation which was not enforced ten years ago. We have swung completely the other way altogether, and not only in this instance. That is the case in many areas. People who could have got mortgages ten or 15 years ago cannot get them now. The thing is to find a balance in the middle. It is about finding a way to make this work.’

‘Anyone who is from a rural part of the country knows what the credit union movement means to those areas. The banks have pulled out in many of those areas. That is simply not acceptable. There is a different role for both these institutions, whether it is the banks or the credit unions and it is a question of finding a happy medium. The conversation should not be about protecting the credit union movement, but about allowing it to grow further and to put down more roots.’

Speaking of possible synergies between credit unions and credit unions and post offices, Deputy Connaughton said, ‘Surely it is time to have a conversation as to how to set up one-stop financial services in rural areas using all of these bodies together. At the heart of all this is how we provide a much stronger service into the future for the credit union movement and how we work with it. The movement is the bedrock of many of our rural communities. Whatever stumbling blocks are in front of us should be removed because there is a bright future here.’