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Credit unions that thrive vital for all via @independent_ie

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Credit unions that thrive vital for all via @independent_ie.

Credit unions enjoy exceptional popularity in Ireland. People love their friendliness and informality. Even in these cash-strapped times, their total deposits still amount to €12bn.

But like so many other Irish institutions, our 400-plus credit unions are in severe difficulties. Many of them have insufficient capital. Some are in serious danger. The figure for loans in arrears has been estimated at €1bn.

Restructuring credit unions via @independent_ie

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Restructuring credit unions via @independent_ie.

The final report of the Commission on Credit Unions, which was published yesterday, is likely to usher in major changes to the credit union movement. The future is likely to be one of fewer, larger credit unions offering a wider range of services to their members.

In common with other financial institutions, the economic downturn and the resulting bad debts has hit the credit union movement hard. With 51 of the country’s 403 credit unions failing to meet the requirement that their reserves exceed 10pc of their assets, of which 25 are seriously under-capitalised, the need for reform is clear.

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