Thursday 24 August 2017

Mortgages plan in bid to revive CU sector

New ILCU president Charles Murphy, from Slane
New ILCU president Charles Murphy, from Slane
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

An alcohol addiction counsellor has been elected president of the Irish League of Credit Unions, with plans to encourage the lenders to offer mortgages.

Charles Murphy, of Slane Credit Union, is also a retired senior Customs and Excise official and Revenue tax inspector and auditor.

He will now serve a two-year term as president of the main representative body for credit unions at a time when the member-owned lenders are struggling to survive. Loan books have been shrinking at most credit unions, starving them of income.

Mr Murphy's election coincided with the delegates at the annual general meeting of the league voting in favour of a motion that paves the way for them to become players in the mortgage market.

Credit unions are being encouraged to ramp up mortgage lending to the value of €500m.

Delegates voted for €1.5m to be taken from the league's rescue fund to be used to develop a standardised mortgage product that could be offered by more than 300 credit unions around the country.

The league is looking at setting up a centralised support unit to help credit unions meet regulatory rules for issuing mortgages.

Much higher levels of expertise will be needed within the movement if it is to be able to issue home loans to the satisfaction of the Central Bank. It is expected that this support structure will come on-stream towards the end of this year.

Financial services outsourcing firm Capita is understood to be in discussions with the league about offering support services around mortgage lending.

Mr Murphy said his focus as president will be to ensure credit unions can offer a wider range of financial services to their three million members.

"I will continue to further develop the vibrant, financially healthy credit union movement which provides a full range of services with the interests of the member at the heart of everything it does," he said.

Irish Independent

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