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credit union development association

Credit Union bodies welcome engagement with Minister Fleming on proposals contained in Department of Finance Review of Credit Union Policy Framework

By News

The four credit union representative bodies – CUDA, CUMA, ILCU and NSF – met with Minister with responsibility for Credit Unions Seán Fleming and officials from the Department of Finance today, Thursday 10th March. At the meeting the Minister outlined a list of proposals contained in his Review of the Credit Union Policy Framework.

The proposals were summarised under five key objectives;

  • Objective 1: Recognition of Role of Credit Unions
  • Objective 2: Supporting Investment in Collaboration
  • Objective 3: Supporting Governance
  • Objective 4: Improving Member Services
  • Objective 5: Transparency of Regulatory Engagement

Minister Fleming spoke about the importance of credit unions growing their loan books and proposed a number of measures to assist credit unions in this regard. In particular, he proposed bringing forward legislation to enable credit unions to invest more easily in Credit Union Service Organisations (CUSOs). This would allow credit unions to pool their resources in delivering new loan products to their members such as mortgages and small business loans.  They will also be enabled to establish Corporate Credit Unions to facilitate mechanisms such as a central liquidity system.

The Minister also proposed a number of measures to allow credit unions to introduce members to another credit union where the referring credit union was unable to provide a certain loan product or service. He also proposed legislative change to allow credit unions to share a larger loan between them.

In relation to Governance, Minister Fleming recognised the important role volunteers play within credit unions, and has proposed that this be included in legislation. Further proposals would reduce the work load on volunteer Directors and Board Oversight Committees in the future.

Also included in the measures outlined by the Minister were proposals aimed at making regulatory engagement with credit unions more transparent through the establishment of a Service Level Agreement (SLA) between credit unions and the Central Bank.

Responding to the Minister’s proposals, the four representative bodies welcomed the opportunities for lending for credit unions. However, there was general consensus that the proposals do not go far enough in addressing the key area of regulatory engagement. They recommend strengthened formalised structures that would include the four bodies, the Central Bank and the Department of Finance. This key infrastructure would serve to identify existing barriers to lending and prevent future impediments to progress and service to members and communities. The bodies believe that further engagement in this area is needed.

CUDA Welcomes Government Announcement on Home Energy Upgrades

By News

Welcoming the announcement by Government today, Tuesday 8th February, in relation to Home Energy Upgrades,  Kevin Johnson, CUDA (Credit Union Development Association) said:

“This is a fantastic development for the homeowner and not ahead of time. The grants are designed to support “one stop shops” for homeowners, which is exactly what is needed. CUDA along with its partner Retrofit Energy Ireland (‘REIL’) were first to introduce this grant format to the retrofit market back in 2019, and the high demand from homeowners was immediately evident.

The grant, coupled with the access to finance, the savings that will be made, and the provision of retrofit experts all in one place takes the concern and reticence away from homeowners who are keen to make their home more energy efficient.

We are glad to see the Government are taking a long-term approach to this, with a commitment to fund the schemes over the next decade – this is something we have been campaigning for several years now. ”

Pro Energy Home Scheme was piloted by CUDA in 2019

“From dealing with members, credit unions have become increasingly conscious that many struggle to improve the energy rating of their home and successfully apply for the available grants. It became abundantly apparent that a simple end to end service model was badly needed. The ProEnergy Homes Scheme was piloted by CUDA in 2019, and rolled out on a limited basis during that summer. It was quickly oversubscribed. Demand from credit union members through the initial 25 participating credit unions generated over 1,100 enquiries from credit union members over a short space of time.

The initiative took all the “leg-work” away from the homeowner. All they had to do was fill out an application form, after which REIL will conduct an assessment on their property and present them with a report. As the trusted provider of financial services in communities throughout Ireland, credit unions are uniquely positioned to support the delivery of a one-stop-shop model for home energy retrofits. Credit unions have advanced tens of thousands of members with home improvement finance over the past year and increasingly, achieving a warmer and more efficient home is top of the agenda for our members. ”

Further information on the ProEnergy Homes Scheme can be found here

 

 

Central Bank Consultation – Application of Minimum Competency Rules to Credit Unions

By News

The Central Bank of Ireland has today (19 January 2022) commenced a public consultation on the application of the Minimum Competency Code 2017 and the Minimum Competency Regulations 2017 to credit union core services.

Commenting on the consultation, Kevin Johnson CEO of CUDA (Credit Union Development Association), stated ‘Credit unions have fully embraced the process of business innovation as evidenced by the fact that two-thirds of credit union staff now hold CUA and/or QFA  (Credit Union Advisor, Qualified Financial Advisor).

Many people not familiar with the sector may be surprised by the level of change that has occurred across credit unions with increased digital access, a wider range of lending products including mortgages and small business loans right through to special services like the end-to-end home retrofit scheme which has proven so popular.

Credit unions are still the recognised as the most trusted brand in the country and this is a direct consequence of how they treat people – with compassion and understanding.

During 2021, CUDA’s own Credit Union Director Programme focused on supporting directors across the country to develop key skills to better understand today’s more complex banking world and to enable them to deliver the most appropriate products and services to their members.’

New lending rules will finally allow Credit Unions to compete

By News

Survey – 3 out of 4 (77%) Consumers believe Credit Unions should compete more aggressively with Banks

  • Some credit unions poised to double or triple loan book size as a result of rule changes to longer-term loans
  • Credit unions disappointed at limited permission to become a key business loan provider and to support Government Housing Schemes

CUDA believes that the new rules which aligns the volume of loans a credit union can issue to their asset size is fundamental, and could enable many credit unions to double or treble their lending in certain loan classes.

Credit unions can and should ‘take on the banks’, according to more than 70% of Irish adults in a recent survey, commissioned by CUDA and conducted by iReach. The majority (74%) of adults believe that credit unions could make a bigger impact and should collaborate to compete with the banks.

Kevin Johnson, CEO of the Credit Union Development Association (CUDA), commenting on the new rules issued by the Central Bank of Ireland today, said  “Up until now the level of loans the credit union should give out was based on the percentage of loans already issued. This was holding credit unions back from providing more loans to support their members and their communities. Now the volume of loans will be based on a percentage of assets of the credit union. With an average of just 28% of assets currently lent out, the Regulations will allow many credit unions to do more loans for more people.

CUDA has persistently lobbied for these changes since 2015 and are delighted that these changes will bring much needed competition to the market for mortgages, home renovations and business loans”.

“We look forward to providing the wider range and higher volume of loans now permitted under the new rules and welcome the Regulator’s commitment to re-evaluating these limits as the sector evolves in these areas of lending. In particular CUDA believes credit unions are ready and willing to help do more in filling the void for business loans left by the banks”.

Kevin Johnson went on to express disappointment that credit unions will be prohibited from supporting aspects of Government Housing Policy such as the Repair and Leasing Scheme. There is no logic, he said, to prohibiting credit unions from providing much needed loans to their members who want to help rebuild Ireland through the Repair and Leasing Scheme. Kevin further expressed disappointment with the limit on the number of business loans a credit union can do in a time when many credit union members who are small businesses are crying out for funding.

CUDA is committed to getting solutions to these issues and will speak directly with the Department of Finance, Department of Housing and the CBI on these matters.

Kevin concluded, “It’s very encouraging to find that 59% of people aged between 18-34 either agreed or strongly agreed with the perception of credit unions being ‘dynamic and innovative’. We have made huge effort and investment in recent years to develop our work in line with advances in technology through our innovation hub, the Solution Centre. In the past three years we have introduced new lending products and these new limit rules from the Central Bank will allow us help credit unions further develop. Our Digital Marketing adverts reached 2.74m people so far in 2019, creating over 18,000 loan leads with a value of €102m. We are committed to broadening the appeal and relevance of the credit union movement among younger generations, and to making our services as accessible as possible, to as many members as we can, both old and new.”

-ENDS