Bill clears way for €250m credit union bailout

The early enactment of the Credit Union Bill has cleared the way for a taxpayer-funded bailout of the credit union sector to the tune of €250m.

Finance Minister Micheal Noonan welcomed the enactment of legislation to implement the report by the Commission on Credit Unions and provide for major reforms in the sector.

Mr Noonan said: “This is the first major overhaul of credit union legislation in 15 years. It is the product of extensive engagement with the credit union movement through the Commission on Credit Unions report.

“The act paves the way for the €250m contribution to the Credit Union Fund by the taxpayer before the end of the year. This is a key investment in the future of the credit union movement in this country and it is important that all concerned now engage with the new reforms to ensure their success.”

The bill makes provision for undercapitalised credit unions to receive direct funding if they are deemed to be sustainable.

The bill also strengthens the role of the Central Bank in regulating the credit unions in line with international practice.

Mr Noonan said: “The bill also allows for greater co-operation between the Central Bank and regulators in other jurisdictions. This underlines Ireland’s commitment to remaining at the forefront of international co-operation in the financial services area and the application of international best practice at home and abroad.”

The Irish League of Credit Unions welcomed the bill.

In a statement, the league said: “We welcome the fact that the Government has listened to the concerns of credit unions and the ILCU and has made certain amendments to the legislation.

“We would like to acknowledge the work of the minister and government officials on this very important piece of legislation and with respect to the amendments which they have brought forward.”

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