Published on 

Minister Noonan addresses Irish League of Credit Unions AGM

Finance Minister Michael Noonan today addressed the Irish League of Credit Unions Annual General Meeting. In his address, the Minister spoke of the importance of credit unions:

The Government is very much committed to credit unions.  We believe that you continue to have an important role to play both in the financial sector and in Irish society at large. Credit unions have been part of local communities in Ireland for over fifty years.  In that time, many tides have come and gone in Irish and international affairs, but credit unions have remained a durable presence throughout the country

The Minister spoke of the Commission on Credit Unions' recent report:

The Report is indeed a landmark document... I would encourage you to take them time to absorb what the report has to say.   While there are many reasons to be positive about the future, it is also important to recognise that the challenges facing credit unions are very real.  We must be calm and constructive in acknowledging problems, just as we must be creative and open minded about solving them.  There is a deep well of talent, commitment and energy among the volunteers across the movement.  This will need to be harnessed if we are to work to bring Irish credit unions towards the mature stage of development seen in movements internationally.

The Minister talked about restructuring:

The key recommendation from the Commission is, of course, that restructuring of the credit union sector should be done on a voluntary, incentivised and time-bound basis.   The guiding aims of restructuring are: the protection of credit union members’ savings; the stability and viability of credit unions and the sector at large; and the preservation of the credit union identity and ethos.

Restructuring presents an opportunity to stronger credit unions to develop a more sustainable business model.   It also provides a mechanism to deal with the financial stresses in credit unions in an orderly and constructive way. ..

Restructuring will not apply to all credit unions. Some credit unions will continue tooperate successfully on a stand-alone basis should they so choose, provided that theyhave a viable business model and are capable of meeting regulatory requirements. The restructuring process will be overseen by a Restructuring Board, or ‘ReBo’.  I will move in the next few weeks to establish the ReBo to ensure that the challenging timetable for restructuring outlined in the Report can be delivered upon.

The Minister concluded:

I have been encouraged by the responses to the Commission Report so far.  I am confident that the mood and momentum now exist to bring about the change and renewal that is needed. The future is not a foregone conclusion.  We have an opportunity to shape it.  The abiding strengths of the Irish credit union movement that have brought it this far will stand to you in facing the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Read the full speech here.