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Arab bank post for CU registrar

THE REGISTRAR of credit unions, James O'Brien, is leaving his post to take up a new position with the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates.

Mr O'Brien is planning to leave at the end of the year, the Irish Central Bank confirmed.

He had been appointed as registrar in April 2010, filling the vacancy that was left when Matthew Elderfield was appointed as financial regulator.

Mr O'Brien, who was originally employed at the Building Societies Commission in London, was a vocal critic of each credit union remaining independent. He oversaw the establishment of a special unit to manage the mergers of credit unions.


Mr O'Brien joined the Central Bank in 1998 and worked as a senior bank examiner in the banking supervision department until his appointment as deputy registrar of credit unions in 2004.

In a recent speech he said that the introduction of proper governance structures and skilled personnel could address the sector's weaknesses, but could also slow the pace of industry growth.

"The high costs associated with each credit union putting appropriate governance structures and risk-management systems in place, in addition to attracting skilled and competent people, will also be prohibitive to the development of a sector," he said.

The Central Bank said an announcement on the appointment of a new registrar for credit unions will be made in due course.