On 7 January, the Irish Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe T.D., published the Final Report of an Implementation Group he had charged with taking forward the 2016 recommendations of the Credit Union Advisory Committee, a statutory body the Minister appoints. The Government’s press release can be viewed here and the new report can be found here.

Among the report’s major recommendations are the need for amendments to primary legislation to increase the maximum rate credit unions can charge on loans from 1% to 2% per month and to allow for electronic voting in credit union elections. A review of common bond requirements was also recommended, as well as the need for effective collaboration amongst credit unions to modernise their business models. Other recommendations were directed to the Central Bank of Ireland and related to the Bank’s current review of credit union lending limits and the desirability of tiered regulation commensurate with credit union size and capabilities.

CFCFE Chair Ralph Swoboda welcomed the report as a major step forward in strengthening the Irish movement. He noted that several of the report’s recommendations are very much in line with the conclusions drawn in the Centre’s previous research papers on credit union business models, revolving credit, mortgage lending and the overall borrowing experience of credit union members.