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Micro Credit Unions a potential alternative to moneylenders – Mitchell

15 July, 2016 - by Denise Mitchell TD

Sinn Féin Junior Spokesperson on Social Protection Deputy Denise Mitchell has met this week with representatives of the Irish League of Credit Unions. They are proposing a new project on ‘micro credit’. This has been piloted across a small number of Credit Unions but they are planning, with the approval of individual Credit Unions, to extend the project nationwide.

Deputy Denise Mitchell said: 

“This project gives people access to smaller loans. There is scope within this scheme to help people who are seeking relatively small amounts of money, to meet more immediate expenses.

“People can seek loans for such things as fixing a leak, or clothing a child for the new school year.

“People at present are often faced with a bitter choice between doing without some basic need or facing exorbitantly high interest rates off money lenders. These licenced lenders could charge up to 190% interest rates – other European Countries have a maximum cap on rates. 

“This new small loan facility being developed by some Credit Unions does not enforce crippling interest rates and provides a genuine alternative for people. The project will also hopefully throw light on the high interest rates of money lenders. 

“For this facility to grow beyond the current limited number of credit unions, individual credit unions will have to agree to the project. It is currently available to social welfare recipients but a further goal of the Irish League of Credit Unions is to extend the facility to those working and on low incomes. This will require regulatory change by the Central Bank.” 

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