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Research provides valuable insight into issues and challenges facing Credit Union Directors - Donohoe

The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD has today (Thursday) welcomed the publication of research into issues and challenges facing Credit Union Directors.


Credit Union Directors hold positions of considerable responsibility in a regulated financial services environment. In addition to safeguarding their members’ interests, Directors are also upholding the ethos of the movement – an ethos which is unique and markedly different to other financial institutions. In contrast to all other Directors regulated by the Central Bank, Credit Union Directors are all volunteers.


The purpose of the research undertaken by the Credit Union Advisory Committee (CUAC),  was to understand the issues and challenges facing Directors, and to explore their role in the context of the current governance structure.


A combination of focus groups, questionnaire and online survey provided all Directors with a unique opportunity to voice their opinions, and the level of responses received demonstrated the value of this exercise.  In total 924 Directors from 83% of Credit Unions contributed to the survey process while 36 Directors participated in focus groups.


The survey findings were broadly positive. In particular, they highlight the rewarding nature of the role, and its positive impact on personal and career development. However, while there are positive findings from the survey, it also highlights significant challenges and areas of concern.


While Directors appear to have adjusted quite well to the change in governance structures it is clear from the survey feedback that there are challenges – 73% of Directors agreed that supervision/regulation is the biggest challenge.


In terms of gender balance, the findings showed that 39% of Directors of Credit Unions are female which compares positively to 31% of non-executive Directors in the banking sector.


CUAC has made recommendations for the Department of Finance, the Central Bank and Credit Unions themselves to consider which cover three core areas (1) legislation, regulation, supervision (2) structure and workings of the Board and (3) supports. The intent of CUAC’s recommendations is to support the role of Credit Union Directors.  Officials in the Department of Finance will consider these recommendations. 


The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD said:


‘I welcome this report, and commend CUAC for giving all Directors an opportunity to voice their opinion directly. This report provides valuable insights into the role of Credit Union Directors, from 924 Directors themselves, and contains a considerable amount of data which can be used to benchmark the sector, now and into the future.


Volunteer Directors perform a vital role in safeguarding and improving the sector whilst also upholding the unique ethos of the movement. It is now important that all stakeholders involved in the sector consider in detail the recommendations the report sets out to aid the role of these Directors.’


The Chair of CUAC, Ms Lorraine Corcoran said::


‘When the Minister for Finance asked the Credit Union Advisory (CUAC) to look at ‘people’ aspects of the credit union sector, we chose to focus our research into Directors. They embody the community ethos of the sector and they are a key component in its effective, safe and successful operation. This research revealed the rewarding nature of the role of Director, and its positive impact on personal and career development.


We know the financial services landscape, of which credit unions are an important part of, has experienced and continues to experience great change. This research also gives a valuable insight into the evolving experience of being a Director in these circumstances and how todays Directors view the challenges facing their sector. Understanding and addressing these challenges will be key in ensuring members of the community continue to step forward to be Directors in future.’




Note to Editors:


The Credit Union Advisory Committee (CUAC) is a statutory requirement under the Credit Union Act 1997. The Act provides that the Minister for Finance may appoint up to seven members of the CUAC.


The Committee’s statutory function is to advise the Minister for Finance and such other persons regarding:

  • the improvement of the management of Credit Unions
  • the protection of the interests of members and creditors of Credit Unions
  • other matters relating to credit unions upon which the Minister, the Central Bank or such other persons as may be specified by the Minister may from time to time seek the advice of the Committee


The CUAC meets on a monthly basis in the Department of Finance, with the Department providing secretariat. It regularly invites Credit Union stakeholders to meetings to share their views on various topics


Members of the CUAC:

The CUAC currently consists of six members and is chaired by Lorraine Corcoran. Further details can be found at the link below: