ILCU AGM Marks 60 Year Milestone of Credit Unions in Ireland

Posted on: 27 Apr 2018

Representatives from credit unions across the island of Ireland will attend the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) AGM in Killarney this weekend (Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th April). The further diversification and enhancement of lending services for Ireland’s 3.6 million credit union members will be a key point of discussion. In 2017, lending continued apace across credit unions in the Republic of Ireland (ROI), with 540,000 loans issued. Lending increased for the second consecutive year and was up by 3.8% year on year.

Crucially, the loan growth of 3.8% is running ahead of savings growth of 1.8% for the year, which is positive news for credit unions. Loans to members now stand at almost €4 billion (all figures accurate to end September 2017).

The conference will also mark 60 years of the credit union movement in Ireland, a movement that has continued to thrive and succeed throughout the decades. A special discussion panel at AGM to celebrate and discuss the 60th milestone will focus on the many achievements throughout the years. The panel will include guest speakers from Donore Credit Union Ltd. - the first community credit union to reach its 60th Anniversary in Ireland and Clones Credit Union Ltd. - the first credit union to be established outside of Dublin, among others. A video featuring historical highlights from six decades of the movement will also be launched at the conference.

Speaking about the 60th Anniversary, ILCU President Charles Murphy said “Credit unions began in this country as organisations of people for people. They continue to be a successful and reliable provider of savings services - savings which are used to provide affordable credit to other credit-worthy members within the community. Credit unions exist only to serve their members and not to profit from their needs. This ethos has steadfastly remained at the heart of the movement, and so it is little wonder that credit unions have been ranked the number one organisation in Ireland for customer experience for three consecutive years. The movement of course has not been without its trials and tribulations, but credit unions have always weathered the storm and will continue to be cornerstones of the local communities they are so proud to serve.”

As part of the overall discussion on lending, the conference will also hear that a new operational support service for mortgage lending will be launched in a matter of weeks. At the ILCU’s AGM in April 2017, credit unions voted to make funding available for the ILCU to develop a centralised   support structure, to help manage and address the administrative burden associated with mortgage lending. The new ‘shared service’, entitled the Home Loans CUSO (Credit Union Service Organisation), will be piloted in a number of credit unions in the coming weeks, with a national roll-out to follow.

The ILCU and its credit unions have developed this service to support the growth of residential mortgage lending, and also to bring some much needed diversity to the mortgage lending market. It will provide credit unions with a standardised, structured and disciplined framework for the processing and fulfilment of mortgage lending, based on best practice, and in a manner that meets all regulatory requirements. 

Commenting on this, ILCU CEO, Ed Farrell, said “Lending remains a key priority for credit unions. We, like other financial institutions, are operating in a challenging environment, where consumer confidence and the appetite to borrow remains lower than in pre-recession times. Credit unions continue to move forward with prudent, long-term lending solutions and mortgage lending is one aspect of this. Credit unions have a clear mandate from their members that they want to see their credit unions offering mortgages. We are very pleased, therefore, to report to AGM on the upcoming pilot launch of the new support service for mortgage lending. At the core of our movement is, and always will be, our 3.6 million members and it is their needs that will ultimately shape future lending and services.”