Credit unions and farmer co-ops were two of the game-changing innovations in the recent history of this country.
They empowered sectors so often left behind, so often forced to wonder why opportunity seemed such a stranger in their lives.
Most farm co-ops have been subsumed by far bigger entities. Farmers’ voices may not be as influential in their boardrooms as they once were.
Commercial imperatives forced an unrelenting change in scale and culture.
An imminent Oireachtas finance committee report on the state of our credit unions will warn that the same evolutionary force has become as influential in that sphere.
The report will warn that credit unions have an “unsustainable” ratio between loans and assets.
The report will suggest a change in legislation which would allow credit unions become involved in financing housing agencies which, on the face of it, would resolve two pressing social issues — housing and, hopefully, the security of the credit union movement.
A win-win situation for a change.
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