Credit unions deserve the State's support
The winding up of the Berehaven Credit Union in Cork is not the first indication that the credit union sector, which has three million members in Ireland and over €11bn in assets, is having its own troubles as a result of the financial downturn. However, it is reassuring to know that its troubles are in no way comparable with the banks, which practically destroyed the economy.
We can take further reassurance from the Central Bank, which petitioned the High Court to appoint a liquidator to the credit union, that this is a 'once-off' problem.'
While most of the sector has been managed in a safe and prudent manner, there have been exceptions. Newbridge Credit Union had its operations transferred to the state-owned TSB Bank at a cost of €54m to the taxpayer and Howth and Sutton Credit Union was merged with another north Dublin credit union by order of the High Court. Undoubtedly there are other credit unions who have over-extended themselves and a programme of mergers has already been recommended for those which are no longer sustainable because of size or their balance sheets.