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Sinn Féin call for removal of Credit Union barriers

22 September, 2008

Sinn Féin MLA for West Belfast and deputy Chairperson of the Assembly Enterprise, Trade and Investment Committee, Jennifer McCann has called on the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Arlene Foster, to lift the barriers for Credit Unions to offer enhanced financial services inline with CU's in the South of Ireland and England.

Speaking today Ms McCann said:

"Given the current state of the banking sector and its low approval rate for loans and mortgages the removal of exist barriers to Credit Unions offering such services need to go. This is something that could make a real and significant difference to the way local communities could bank easing the financial burden on many.

"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, including mortgages and electronic banking, to meet the changing needs of their customers should be removed.

"We see Gordon Brown and George Bush delivering emergency packages to help sure up the financial sector and restore confidence in financial and housing sectors. This is an emergency action that the Assembly could enact now.

"Arlene Foster should bring these proposals to the Executive for approval and this issue should be moved on as a matter of urgency and would bring the north into line with the current financial services available for Credit Unions in the South of Ireland and England.

"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." CRÍOCH

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