Update on COVID-19 stakeholder activity

Hello all,

We hope this message finds you well.

As previously reported, we are part of a stakeholder group, chaired by the Dept. of Finance and meeting weekly. This quick email is to keep you updated on a number of representation issues and topics in discussion following the Government’s decision to allocate credit unions as essential retail outlets, and resulting in credit union staff being deemed essential workers to travel to and from the workplace.

 Credit Trends

  • As a sector, number of queries from members re. loan rescheduling reduced for now
  • Issues for some CUs when applying range of restructuring arrangements as not all banking systems have capability
  • In general new loan applications down, significant drop in mortgage activity
  • Anecdotal evidence of increased moneylender activity.

Savings Trends (inflows/outflows)

  • No notable liquidity change – some increase in savings, lodgements and isolated cases of large cash withdrawals
  • Requests for access to pledged shares conflicting with Section 32 (legislative matter CUDA to set out explanation of problem to DoF)

Investment Trends 

  • We are watching NTMA timeline for raising funds as there will be a significant requirement
  • See also regulatory issues below

Operational Trends (staffing, digital/phone, branches)

  • Increase in contactless payments to €50 expected across system from 1st April (Tesco will not be implementing)
  • Members increasing use of digital/phone channels and debit cards. Footfall down
  • COVID-19 Testing of frontline staff – raised with and noted by Minister
  • Actions taken to assist vulnerable customers provided to DoF – draft letter to follow from DoF for approval before presenting to DoF internal Covid 19 Committee

Regulatory Issues

  • Circular to CU chairs issued by the CBI, strong on instruction and low on guidance
  • Guidance from CCR guidance to users created further. CUDA have written to CCR and RCU seeking simple solution of all temporary restructuring due to COVID-19 should be excluded from CCR report [not just full payment moratorium].
  • Discussions between Rep Bodies and CBI on variety of regulatory matters incl. counterparty limits and minimum credit rating requirements for Govt. and Corporate Bonds, reduction in regulatory capital requirement (RRR) and provisioning, levies and charges

If there are other specific issues that you would like addressed with the Dept of Finance or the CBI please let me know and we will include it. We continue to have two conference calls a week with the RCU.

Keep safe, regards for now, Kevin

Ps COVID-19 Fraud scams: To get ahead of the fraudsters and prevent your credit union / members from scams you might like to look at FraudSMART.ie, it is the fraud awareness initiative led by Banking & Payments Federation Ireland, it has examples of Covid-19 related scams detected in other jurisdictions which typically we would expect to see reaching Ireland in due course.