This week Independent Senator Rónán Mullen condemned the attitude adopted by the Central Bank management to Credit Unions.
He criticised new rules from the Central Bank which will curb lending in up to seven Credit Unions in Leitrim.
“I am deeply concerned at the manner in which the Central Bank is approaching its role in oversight of Credit Unions. Last year we saw the late-night takeover of Newbridge Credit Union by the State-owned Permanent TSB, and just last week we heard the news that the Central Bank has ordered a limit to lending in close to two hundred Credit Unions, including up to seven in Leitrim.”
Senator Mullen said that the community credit system was an integral part of Irish life and our communities.
He said it was unclear which of the seven Credit Unions in Leitrim would be affected by the latest rules from the Central Bank clamping down on lending.
He emphasised the crucial role of Credit Unions in supporting communities.
“What Central Bank officials don’t seem to realise is that many people regularly turn to their local Credit Union for crucial support.
“It is distressing to discover that older people are being refused loans for cars, parents being refused short-term loans to defray family costs and some people being denied loans to cover funeral costs. This undermines the community credit system entirely.
“I am sure that bank bosses are delighted that the Central Bank is using such a blunt instrument to restrict lending.”
Senator Mullen said he would be calling on the Central Bank and Minister for Finance to draw up a new code of consultation and conduct for dealing with Credit Unions.
“A new code of conduct should require the Central Bank to consult with the Credit Unions across Ireland when bringing in new procedures. Credit Unions are not banks; they are community-owned, not shareholder-owned.
“Communities deserve to be consulted about the changes that affect their local Credit Unions.”