Credit Unions 'may merge smaller branches'

It is likely some smaller credit unions will be merged as part of restructuring in the sector, the Credit Union Development Association's AGM has heard.

The Annual General Meeting has also heard that many are still struggling to tackle arrears.

The registrar of Credit Unions, Sharon Donnery, has told delegates at today's AGM that Credit Unions have experienced a 40% drop in total interest income since a peak of €600m in 2009.

She also said that loan books held by Credit Unions are continuing to fall with 47% of them having arrears of more than 30% of their loan book - the average sector arrears at the end of September last were slightly above 19%, with total loans worth around €4.5bn.

Ms Donnery said in light of the current situation, some restructuring within the sector is essential, if it is to be sustainable for the future.

This means some credit unions may be merged, leading to some dilution of local control.

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