Harkin slams Government for anti-credit union policy

The latest market research report by the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU ) confirms the positive status of credit unions and the fact that a majority of personal and car loans drawn by Westmeath people come from credit unions.

This was stated by Marian Harkin MEP when she welcomed the report which shows that credit unions are three times more popular than the banks.

Marian Harkin said: “Westmeath’s credit unions play a hugely supportive role for the people of the county with five unions and currently 51,000 members. This level of involvement exists in every county of the 32 counties of Ireland and provides the most important channel of finance for the majority of citizens.

“The question therefore arises as to the current policies of the Government and the Central Bank both of which have had a dismal record in overseeing the financial sector and in particular the banks whose ineptitude has cost every citizen dearly.

“Why is the Government and the Central Bank so determined to favour the banks that they are insisting that credit unions stand back in the queue to allow banks preferential access to creditors.

“Why have the Irish League of Credit Unions, and a number of credit unions, to take legal action against the Government and the Central Bank over their actions and attitude?

“At the end of August AIB will increase the charge for an ATM transaction by 75 per cent. Already the people of Ireland have been hit hard to support this bank which is now under the control of a government which has no problem with the imposition of huge increased charges for services.

“They do this and, at the same time, deliberately insist on measures which require credit unions to place surplus funds with the likes of AIB for a paltry 1.5 per cent return. There are many credit worthy customers for credit unions who, based on their records, would have no problem in taking loans at between 5 per cent and 12 per cent but, due to Government and Central Bank constraints, have to be declined.

“It is time for people, and especially credit union members in Westmeath, to ask hard questions of their public representatives and let the Government know that their current attitude to credit unions is totally unacceptable. Credit unions deserve the support of Government and not policies which unnecessarily restrict their business in favour of discredited banks,” Marian Harkin concluded.


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