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Our Vision for Credit Unions

As ESG transforms investor behaviour and consumers actively choose altruistic causes, credit unions’ unique ethos is ideally suited to building a better Ireland.

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CUDA’s shared vision with its members envisages an expanded role for credit unions in three key areas:


  • Access to affordable credit
  • Business lending
  • Lifetime financial health


  • Social and affordable housing
  • Retirement security
  • Community rewards


  • Energy-efficient housing
  • Clean mobility
  • Sustainability

To make this a reality, policy makers should permit capable credit unions to expand their services and innovate within reasonable risk parameters.
In parallel, credit unions must secure financial sustainability by augmenting trust with a modern business model based on capability and performance.

This we call the Model Credit Union.

See CUDA’s Model Credit Union

Why Credit Unions Matter

Credit unions’ people-first approach is essential to Ireland’s socio-economic fabric

Members First

Credit unions are owned by their members, who play an active role shaping how their credit union is run. Benefits flow directly to members and good causes, not distant financial investors. Membership of 3.4m demonstrates that people value the ethical approach which credit unions champion.

Financial Inclusion

Credit unions are a safe-haven for members of all ages. Pragmatic lending helps those excluded by banks and diminishes money lenders. Depositors are protected by state guarantee. New digital capabilities are available for young cohorts, alongside branches for those seeking the personal touch.

Economic Catalyst

Credit union lending drives consumption and investment by consumers and business, boosting state tax revenue. Growing support for SMEs and Agriculture secures employment for thousands and is essential as other lenders withdraw from the market.

Charitable Causes

Credit unions support thousands of charitable initiatives across Ireland each year. From volunteering to funding, sponsorship and donations; the selfless effort of credit unions provides an essential lifeline to people and communities who need it most.

Plan for government

Credit unions have the capability and desire to support Ireland’s economic renewal

Reigniting and Renewing the Economy

COVID-19 and Brexit have challenged consumer, business and state finances. Credit unions have the products, capital and skills to play an active role in economic renewal at a local and national level, and are particularly well suited to targeted lending initiatives.

New Green Deal

Credit unions have the interests of today’s society and future generations at heart. Existing capabilities in green lending through ProEnergy Homes, in partnership with SEAI, should be better funded by the government to save people money, create local jobs and meet retrofit targets.

Housing for All

Poor supply and affordability constrain housing reform and the potential of too many Irish people. More units could be built faster if credit unions were permitted to lend to AHBs, housing co-operatives and local authorities using CUDA-Initiative Ireland’s ready solution.

Balanced Regional Development

Credit unions are one of the few financial service providers present across urban and rural Ireland. Integral to their communities, and with existing capabilities in consumer, business and Agri lending, credit unions can catalyse policies aimed at regional development and become true community banks.

Better Quality of Life for All

Growing disparities in income, health and education present a significant challenge to society and the state. Credit unions can improve the lifetime financial health of members, from lending to channelling low yield savings into effective long-term pension investments.

See how credit unions help homeowners get energy-efficient retrofits

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See how credit unions support social and affordable housing for all

See how credit unions deliver balanced regional development