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Key questions you can ask to find out if your lender is healthy

• Has the board been told by the Central Bank to postpone its annual general meeting? If it has, it is a sure sign the regulator is unhappy with the way the lending is being run.

Will a dividend be paid this year; was one paid last year? Credit unions reporting losses are being barred by regulators from paying a dividend.

• Is the loan book shrinking? A declining loan book is an indicator that income is set to fall fast.

• Are loan arrears rising? Rising arrears are a sign of trouble ahead.

• How much has been put aside to cover loans unlikely to be repaid? The level of provisioning, compared with previous years, should tell you how healthy the credit union now is.

Remember, members' savings are protected under the Government deposit guarantee scheme, of up to €100,000 per depositor.

Irish Independent