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Local public banking has backing – Government report does not reflect this – Senator Rose Conway-Walsh

5 July, 2018 - by Rose Conway-Walsh

Sinn Féin Senator Rose Conway-Walsh while welcoming the publication of a report into the viability of local public banking sector based on the German Sparkassen model in Ireland, has said the report lacks imagination and vision.

Reacting to the publication of a report into Local Public Banking by the Department of Finance and the Department of Rural and Community Development, the Mayo Senator said:

“We have waited many months for publication of the report. There have been countless submissions and presentations to Oireachtas committees. There has been ample time for the Government to give serious consideration to the development of a local public banking sector.

"While the Government argue that there is no marked increase in demand for credit by SMEs, they do not address the issue of competition within the lending sector.

"At the moment more than 90% of loans to SMEs come from only 3 banks. Other countries have a myriad of community banks all successfully supplying credit to the sector.

"There is a feeling that this report is nothing more than a box ticking exercise to attempt to fulfil a promise made in the Programme for Government.

"Aspirational references to existing agencies taking a more proactive role in assisting SMEs is not what we expected from this report

"A clear case was made by Irish Rural Link and others as to how the Sparkassen and other models are viable in the Irish market. There are significant stakeholders very supportive of this plan. They have been let down by an uninspired, visionless report. 

"As a member of the Oireachtas Finance Committee I will be visiting Germany in September where I will meet with representatives of the Sparkassen model.

"I hope to explore further options and actions with them in order to meet the robust demand for variety and competition in the local banking sector in Ireland."

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