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Crowe concerned over proposed Central Bank ceiling of savings in credit unions

13 August, 2015 - by Seán Crowe TD

Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD, Seán Crowe, has restated his concerns over Central Bank proposals to cap the amount of money that a saver can place in a Credit Union at €100,000. Crowe was speaking as it appears the proposals are being imminently finalised and have not taken into account the immense concerns of the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU).

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“This clause is discriminatory and clearly puts credit unions at a disadvantage against other
financial institutions. The €100,000 amount seems to be an arbitrary level, and I can see no evidence of how it was arrived at and how it can be changed in future.

“I have concerns that this regulatory action, among others, by the Central Bank, and legislation from Government, has failed to adequately respect the unique ethos of the Credit Union movement.

“We know that banking interests have applied pressure on Minister Noonan and the Department of Finance, and it’s no surprise that they have folded in the face of these demands.

“Credit Unions are democratic and very well run. Only a tiny minority have had problems and these pale in comparison to the fallout from the reckless actions of most Irish banks.

“Credit Unions are in many cases the only legitimate institution or place that people on low and middle incomes can access a loan.

“People also strongly trust their local Credit Union, while they do not always trust commercial banks. Surely people should be free to place whatever savings they want in a secure account in their local Credit Union, rather than with a bank they may not trust.

“Sinn Féin believes the Credit Union plays a unique social and economic role in Irish society that requires the ongoing support of government and the Central Bank. Despite the failure of the Irish banking system over the last number of years the Credit Union movement has, in very difficult circumstances, continued to provide an excellent and vital service to our communities.

“The Credit Union sector requires and, I believe, wants clear and sensible regulation implemented in a consistent and fair manner which reflects its unique model and role. I don’t believe this clause does that and I share their concerns over this measure.

“I am calling for the Minister to postpone signing off this piece of legislation in order to allow for further consideration and a review of this figure.

“An examination should be held into whether a more flexible system can be accommodated, for example a system which allows a long term saver to gradually increase their savings to over €100,000. Also, existing savers with this amount already on deposit should be exempt.” 

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