Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Bring Credit Unions ability to offer wider Financial Services into line with England and 26-counties now

20 June, 2008

Sinn Féin Economic Spokesperson Mitchel Mc Laughlin MLA has called on DETI Minister, Arlene Foster to respond positively to the appeal from the Credit Union Movement to remove the barriers that prevent them offering similar Financial Services to their counterparts in England and the South of Ireland.

Mitchel Mc Laughlin said:

"I believe that in the interests of offering our communities access to key financial services at an affordable rate, particularly in the present adverse financial conditions, and in a more consumer friendly atmosphere that the Minister should listen to the proposals by Credit Union of Ireland and Ulster Federation of Credit Unions for the provision of a wider range of services and investment opportunities to be made available to Credit Unions.

"With the growth of the Credit Union Movement throughout Ireland over the past 30 to 40 years those people living in economically deprived communities were for the first time - through establishment of Credit Unions - given access to some of the financial services previously only available to the better off in our society.

"Unlike the impersonal nature of many banking institutions the Credit Union is community based and welcoming of all irrespective of economic background. For this reason communities embraced the Credit Unions as the 'People's Bank'. Credit Unions are now part of the social fabric of most communities.

"More and more financial transactions, including government payments, are being transacted through electronic banking and therefore we need to make all financial services as widely accessible to the general public as possible.

"In an age where it is becoming more difficult to make day to day financial transactions without a bank account I believe that restrictions on Credit Unions offering a wider range of financial services to meet the changing needs of their customers should be removed.

"It is imperative that in the present financial climate that people have access to the most competitive rates for saving and borrowing that is available. Credit Unions are community based and the added income from expanded services should be able to be invested in the social economy for the benefit of the community to which the Credit Union belongs." ENDS

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