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Credit Unions should be allowed to offer greater Financial Services – McLaughlin

30 June, 2008

Sinn Féin Economic Spokesperson Mitchel McLaughlin MLA has called on Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster to respond to the ongoing financial crisis by removing the barriers that prevent them Credit Union from offering a greater range of Financial Services.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"I believe that there is now an onus on Arlene Foster to remove the restrictions our Credit Unions face.

"We need to allow our Credit Unions to offer to key financial services at an affordable rate, particularly in the present adverse financial conditions, and in a more consumer friendly atmosphere.

"There are a number of proposals that have been brought forward 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. I believe that Arlene Foster must now respond positively to these proposals.

"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.

"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.

"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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