Friday 24 November 2017

Credit unions grew by €2bn post crash

'The average loan to asset ratio has decreased from 42pc to 27pc over the period - meaning credit unions have more money than they can lend' Stock photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
'The average loan to asset ratio has decreased from 42pc to 27pc over the period - meaning credit unions have more money than they can lend' Stock photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Sean Duffy

The Central Bank has said that the ability of the Irish credit union sector to absorb financial shocks is "reasonably strong".

However, regulators warned that there was considerable variations between the financial strength of individual credit unions.

The Central Bank published a report on Friday analysing activity in the sector between 2011 and 2016.

It found considerable consolidation in the sector, with many smaller unions merging to form larger organisations.

Total assets in the sector now stand at €16bn, up €2bn over the period.

However, the research found that loan books declined 28pc between 2011 and 2016. The value of loans held by credit unions across the country is now €4.1bn.

Loan arrears have also fallen, to 10pc of accounts from 18pc five years ago.

The average loan to asset ratio has decreased from 42pc to 27pc over the period - meaning credit unions have more money than they can lend.

"We welcome the report and the acknowledgment of the resilience of the credit union sector during the country's financial crisis," said Kevin Johnson, ceo of the Credit Union Development Association (CUDA).

He said the sector is well capitalised but faced impediments, primarily legislative and regulatory, that need to be worked through in order to boost lending.

The Irish League of Credit Unions said the average capital ratio of 16pc means credit unions are well positioned to withstand any additional financial stresses.

Irish Independent

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