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CUDA comments on CBI Financial Conditions of Credit Unions Report

By News

Commenting on the ‘Financial Conditions of Credit Unions’ report, published by the Central Bank this morning, Kevin Johnson, CEO of CUDA (Credit Union Development Association) said “This morning’s report shows that lending is strong across the credit union sector, with a 12pc increase in loans for the financial year ended 30 September 2023. Loan growth has continued into 2024 and this is reflective of the huge demand for credit union loans and the increased ability of credit unions to meet this demand across multiple channels. Furthermore, thanks to legislative changes signed last February, we expect the scale of credit union lending to significantly increase in the coming months and years – because from September 2024, for the first time, credit unions will be able to offer a service or product such as a home loan to a member of another credit union – under a formal arrangement with that other credit union. For householders and aspiring homeowners, this means there will be greater access to fairer mortgages as credit unions will be able to refer mortgage applications to other credit unions should they not be in a position to provide a mortgage themselves. This effectively means that every credit union in the country will be able to offer mortgages. As a result of these changes, CUDA contends that total new credit union mortgage lending could reach €1 billion per annum by 2027, which could put credit unions in the top five mortgage lenders.

Furthermore, the Credit Union Regulatory Lending Framework review is ongoing in the Central Bank at present and is due to be published by the end of June. On foot of this review, we would hope going forward that further changes will be implemented which will permit credit unions to lend more.

While after falling to a seven-year low the last time this report was published[1], the slight increase in arrears captured in this morning’s report is a sombre reminder of the pressure that the increased cost of living has brought on people. Credit unions are very cognisant of this and continue to remain supportive of anyone who is experiencing difficulties.  We believe the low increase is testament to the competitive interest rates available from credit unions as well as the work that credit unions do with any customers who may run into difficulties repaying their loans.

This morning’s report also shows that there’s been an increase in reserves across the sector, with all credit unions reporting regulatory reserves that are comfortably above the required regulatory minimum. This is evidence of prudent financial management by credit unions – which in turn underpins member confidence and enables credit unions to expand on their service offerings and continue to win more of the mortgage and lending pie from the Irish banks and non-banks alike.”

 

ENDS

 

[1] As per Financial Stability Report for financial year to 30 September 2022, published in March 2023

Credit Union Report Strong Mortgage Performance as borrowers seek out better deals

By News

CUDA supported credit unions on track to provide €150m of new mortgage offers this year – the credit union sector will exceed €250m

  • Average mortgage amount is €185,400
  • Average interest rate is 3.72%
  • Credit union mortgage lending should reach €1bn per annum by 2027

Credit unions on CUDA’s Mortgage Support Platform, SAM which the majority of mortgage approvals in the credit union sector, are on track to provide €150m or more of mortgage offers this financial year with the – a remarkable 18-fold increase in mortgage activity in just six years.

Total mortgage lending on the platform – a framework which allows credit unions to offer residential mortgages – already exceeded €70m in the first half of the current financial year for credit unions which commenced on the 1st Oct and will easily exceed €150m for the full year. This is up from €8.1m in 2018. An incredibly strong performance according to the platform’s half yearly results[1], which have just been published.

Other highlights of the results show that:

  • The average mortgage amount has almost doubled since 2018, increasing from €108,835 in 2018 to €185,474 in 2023 on an average property value of €341,700
  • The average mortgage term has increased from 18 years in 2018 to 23 years in 2023
  • Average interest rate is 3.72%

35% of borrowers are individuals with the remaining 65% couples

The SAM mortgage platform is a wholly credit union owned service which supports credit unions in achieving significant levels of mortgage lending. Currently, more than 25 credit unions are now providing mortgages through the platform and this is constantly growing.

Commenting on the new figures, Kevin Johnson, CEO of CUDA said:

The phenomenal growth in lending is driven by an increased appetite for credit union mortgages as well as the increased ability of credit unions to provide mortgages. The demand from Members is clear, they want an alternative to the banks and Credit Unions are stepping up. For several years now Regulators have encouraged credit unions to grow their lending and it is testament to the dedication of credit unions to upskill and bring much needed competition to the market. As the figures show they are doing this in a prudent manner and growth in loans is reflective of their growth in capability.  Legislators have also encouraged credit unions to increase their lending and arising from the  legislative changes signed last February, in the last quarter of this year credit unions will be permitted to offer a service or product such as a home loan to a member of another credit union – under a formal arrangement with that other credit union. This effectively means that every credit union in the Country will be able to offer mortgages.

Experienced credit unions in this space are evolving from niche players to full participants in the mortgage market.  Today’s figures are indicative of the evolving confidence and risk appetite of credit unions as they gain more experience in providing mortgages.

The numbers reflect this very fluid and developing market for Credit Unions. The last financial year was the first full year in which SAM credit unions have offered fixed rate mortgages, and they have quickly taken root representing almost one quarter of total mortgage lending on the platform. And though green mortgages accounted for 6.5pc of total mortgage offers, this product is only emerging and currently only available from three credit unions on the platform, for those credit unions green mortgages account for 35% of their total mortgage lending”.

CUDA contend that as a result of the new legislative changes, we believe that total new credit union mortgage lending could reach €1bn per annum by 2027 which could put credit unions in the top five mortgage lenders.

Mr. Johnson concluded,

“There is already strong demand for credit union mortgages. With the support of CUDA’s Mortgage Platform, with more supports coming available in the near future and indeed even with every credit union in the country effectively being able to offer mortgages, we hope this will encourage the Central Bank of Ireland to extend the boundaries and facilitate credit unions provide even more home loans. Credit unions are trusted by consumers – in 2023, they topped the table for the best customer experience (the CX Customer Experience report) in Ireland for nine years running. Furthermore, credit union lending rates are particularly competitive as they are not impacted by elevated ECB rates. While the banks hold the lion’s share of mortgage lending in Ireland, with total mortgage lending for the banking sector reaching almost €11.4bn in 2022, credit unions have become and will continue to be a strong contender in the Irish mortgage market and are on track to win more of this mortgage pie from the banks in the coming years.”

ENDS

 

Notes to editor

SAM

SAM (System for Application Management) is a best practice framework for credit unions to offer consumer mortgages. As a wholly credit union owned service, the purpose of SAM remains to support credit unions in achieving significant levels of mortgage lending, delivered at a price point that will not erode their financial performance on a low margin product line.

SAM provides credit unions with optimised processes from application to assessment, documentation and a workflow management system that ensures a consistent approach and compliance with ESIS, MARP and other requirements.

SAM includes training and service support, access to CUDA’s legal and compliance services, and the option for external file assessment by an industry expert at discount rates.

Excellent member experience is ensured via streamlined processes, competitive rates and the personal approach which has made credit unions the most trusted brand in Ireland for many years running.

SAM was originally launched in 2017 and was upgraded in 2021. For more details, visit www.solutioncentre.ie.

[1] For the months Oct 1, 2023 to March 31, 2024

Comment from Dr. Kevin Johnson, CEO of the Credit Union Development Association (CUDA), on key changes coming into force today February 21, 2024 as a result of enhancements to the Credit Union Act

By News

Credit unions processed approximately €200m in new mortgage lending in 2023. As a result of the legislative changes which came into force today, we anticipate this volume doubling each year for the next couple of years. We believe the credit union mortgage lending could reach €1bn per annum within 3 to 4 years which could put credit unions in the top 5 mortgage lenders.

For the first time, credit unions can now offer a service or product such as a home loan to a member of another credit union – under a formal arrangement with that other credit union. For householders and aspiring homeowners, this means there will be greater access to fairer mortgages as credit unions will be able to refer mortgage applications to other credit unions should they not be in a position to provide a mortgage themselves. This effectively means that every credit union in the country will be able to offer mortgages.

Credit unions can also refer applications for other products to another credit union – such as current accounts, debit cards, and business loans. Credit unions can now essentially partner with other credit unions to offer their members a wider selection of products.

This new collaboration on lending could generate an additional €2.2bn in lending each year for credit unions.

Credit union members will have more access to digital and automated services as a result of the enhancements to the Credit Union Act. This increased digitalisation will generate cost savings for credit unions in a number of areas. For example, the ability to make credit union annual reports available online will save credit unions an estimated €75m a year in postage and printing costs (see Appendix). All of these cost savings will then be used to deliver even better and lower-cost products to our members.

In addition, increased digitalisation will make it easier for credit unions to sign up new business members, and lend to these businesses– in this regard, we estimate that digitalisation will boost business lending alone by €100m a year.

The changes that come into force today (February 21, 2024) are just the first of a suite of enhancements to the Credit Union Act in the pipeline. Other changes in the pipeline are the establishment of credit unions for credit unions (aka Corporate Credit Unions) and the ability of credit unions to invest in shared services – these will help credit unions provide maximum efficiency for their members by sharing costs and expertise. This in turn will enable credit unions to offer a wider range of lower-cost loans and other products to their members, as well as more favourable returns on savings.

ENDS

 

Appendix

 

 

 

 

CUDA comments on the CBI Report on Financial Conditions of Credit Unions

By News

The Central Bank of Ireland have today (30th March 2023) published its ninth edition of the Financial Conditions of Credit Unions Report.

Commenting on the Central Bank’s report on the Financial Conditions of the Credit Union sector, ‘Kevin Johnson, CEO of the Credit Union Development Association, which works with over 50 credit unions, said

“Loan volumes are up, and the loan-to-asset ratio is definitely improving, but not by as much or as quickly as we would like. We believe that there’s an absolute need to resolve this by expanding the loan profile of credit unions and prudently growing loan books across the sector.  

Competition in the mortgage market has reduced following the departures of Ulster Bank and KBC, and with the non-banks struggling to offer competitively priced products, there’s a clear opening for credit unions to substantially expand their mortgage products. CUDA has been at the forefront of this, with its members initially entering the mortgage market in 2018 targeting specific lending needs, since 2021 we have worked with credit unions to expand their offerings and we are now working to expand this to more credit unions. 

New legislation that is progressing through the Oireachtas and scheduled for enactment this year will support this, as it will allow credit unions to refer lending business to each other which means that even those credit unions without mortgage lending underwriting skills will be able to facilitate their members. 

Each credit union is a separate legal entity with its own Board and management team, and they are not currently permitted to share business. These changes will help credit unions make a greater financial, social, and environmental contribution as their legislation framework is modernised.

Credit Unions have significantly modernised in the past decade – their structure, legal and regulatory status, product offerings, and service delivery methods have advanced considerably. In particular their digital capabilities were accelerated during the Covid-19 pandemic. Members can still access the traditional set of personal loans and savings, and now they can also avail of current accounts, ‘one stop shop’ retrofit loans, mortgages, revolving credit, debit cards, community loans, agricultural loans, as well as loans for small businesses.  These are accessible face to face, over the phone or via online facilities.  Recent rises in interest rates will have a significantly positive impact on the ROA for all credit unions as this will result in them getting a better return on their investments.”