The final report of the Commission on Credit Unions was presented to the Minister for Finance on 31 March last and published on 18 April.

This report signalled many significant changes for the Irish Credit Union movement, with these changes expected to be implemented over the next few years.

Among the proposals set out in the report are the following:

  • Restructuring of credit unions is still very much on the agenda, with the proposed appointment of a Restructuring Board. It is envisaged that restructuring of the sector will be voluntary and incentivised.
  • A ‘tiered’ regulatory approach is envisaged, with the level of regulation applicable to a particular credit union dependent on its size.
  • The ‘common bond’ aspect of the credit union movement is to be retained.
  • An emphasis on the skills, qualifications and experience of Directors of credit unions. Also that new Directors be given adequate induction.
  • Credit Unions will be required to prepare a Strategic Plan.
  • Maintenance and implementation of adequate Risk Management Policies, together with the appointment of a Risk Officer.
  • Maintenance of an appropriate Internal Audit function.
  • The 1997 Act is expected to be amended to remove the role of the Treasurer, with the Manager given increased responsibility.
  • The ‘Board Oversight Committee’ to replace the ‘Supervisory Committee’.
  • Establishment of a Statutory Stabilisation Fund.

The new Credit Union Bill is due to be published before 30 June 2012 and this should further indicate how the proposals in the report will be solidified through legislative change. If you require any assistance with regards to credit union matters, please do not hesitate to contact Donagh Waters or Gerry McInerney at McInerney Saunders at (01) 8404029.