Credit unions facing ‘radical change’

Delegates voice strong support for restructuring at Irish League of Credit Unions AGM

Brian McCrory, president of the  Irish League of Credit Unions takes questions at the 2016 AGM in Limerick over the weekend.   Photograph: Liam Burke/Press 22

Brian McCrory, president of the Irish League of Credit Unions takes questions at the 2016 AGM in Limerick over the weekend.   Photograph: Liam Burke/Press 22

 

Credit unions are facing a time of radical change and transformation following the enactment of new regulations, President Michael D Higgins has told the Irish League of Credit Unions 2016 AGM.

In his opening address to the weekend gathering in Limerick, he said the movement had been presented with a “significant set of challenges” but said he hopes it can expand further in the financial sector while continuing to retain its community ethos.

Alluding to a set of regulations brought forward by the Central Bank last year which sought to cap the amount of money individuals can save in a credit union at €100,000, among other requirements, Mr Higgins said this represents a time of “radical change” for the movement.

He added that the ethical code employed by credit unions will have a critical role in the country’s continued economic recovery, and said they can act as models for “placing solidarity and the collective welfare above any self serving individualism”.

“There can be no doubt that the spirit and ethical code that drove the success of co-operative societies will retain its critical role in the future we must craft, as part of the economic recovery of this country,” he said.

“We know that we cannot go back to doing things in the same way as we did before. We need new forms of working together that will transcend the shortcomings of our recent experience.

“Indeed I have no doubt that the radical thinking, innovative will and great spirit of humanity on which the credit union movement was built will continue to define it in the future,” he added

As the conference drew to a close on Sunday, delegates voiced their approval of review findings which outlined the need for change within the organisation as a whole.

The review conducted by Dr Eddie Molloy and strategy agency Advanced Organisation identified a need to build a more co-ordinated, coherent and cost-effective movement through an “empowered centre” which will help to provide a full range of “ethical” products along with a sustainable business model.

The final report will be presented to the board of the Irish League of Credit Unions in the coming weeks, after which the board will decide whether or not to call a Special General Meeting to approve the recommendations, costs and funding mechanisms.