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Dodds should act to remove barriers to Credit Unions ability to offer wider Financial Services

13 May, 2008

Sinn Féin Economic Spokesperson Mitchel Mc Laughlin MLA has called on DETI Minister, Nigel Dodds to respond positively to remove what the Credit Union of Ireland President, Uel Adair described as "the vacuum in the regulatory sphere that exists between the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) in Belfast and the Financial Services Authority in London" to allow CU's the latitude to offer a wider range of Financial Services.

Mitchel Mc Laughlin said:

"I believe that in the interests of offering our communities access to key financial services at an affordable rate and in a more consumer friendly atmosphere that the Minister should listen to the proposals by Credit Union of Ireland President, Uel Adair for the provision of a wider range of services for Credit Unions..

"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 of the better off in our society. Unlike the impersonal nature of many banking institutions the Credit Union is community based and welcoming of all irrespective of economic background. For this reason communities embraced the Credit Unions as the 'People's Bank'. Credit Unions are now part of the social fabric of most communities.

"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.

"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 to meet the changing needs of their customers should be removed. One such change that I believe would greatly convenience pension and other fixed benefit recipients would be to have the choice of having their payments deposited directly into their Credit Union Accounts.

"This would relieve the anxiety that many have about banks. It would also ensure that any profits accrued from such transactions would benefit the local community rather than the Banks who are already making substantial profits." ENDS

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