Credit unions grew mortgage lending by 71% in the year to end of March

Irish League of Credit Unions said there has been a ‘phenomenal increase’ in credit union mortgage lending in recent years

Credit unions grew lending by 13.6 per cent in the past year with a significant increase in mortgages, new figures show.

The Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU), which represents more than 90 per cent of the total active credit unions in the Republic, has published its latest quarterly results on behalf of its members.

The results for the period spanning January to March 2024 highlight a continued strong lending performance, which rose 2.7 per cent in the quarter. The ILCU said arrears remain close to all-time lows.

The assets of credit unions stood at €18.1 billion at the end of March. This has increased by more than 40 per cent over the past 10 years.

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Similarly, savings in credit unions have increased to €15.2 billion, up 0.9 per cent in the quarter.

In total, more than 90,400 new loans were issued in the period, which was up 4 per cent on the same quarter last year, equating to more than 1,000 loans issued every day.

For the 12 months to March 31st, the value of credit union mortgages issued was up 71 per cent. The credit union mortgage loan book passed a key milestone of €500 million and was on target to reach €1 billion over the next two years, it said.

The increases in lending are in the context of near-historic low arrears of 2.7 per cent. This compares with a current 90-day mortgage arrears ratio of 4.1 per cent.

Credit unions processed in excess of 20 million electronic payments in the last quarter, of which 50 per cent were card-based and the other half were SEPA transfers.

In terms of current account growth, more than 1,000 new credit union current accounts were opened weekly in the quarter, showing continued growth in the number of people choosing to bank with their local credit union.

ILCU chief executive David Malone said: “These robust financial results highlight the continued growth trajectory and future potential of credit unions, and opportunities that they offer members all across Ireland.

“Coupled with the over 90,000 loans in the quarter issued by our credit unions there is a constantly growing pipeline of demand for loans which our members are ready to facilitate given the funds we have to lend at competitive rates.”

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter