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Membership of credit unions up

CREDIT Union membership in Ireland increased by 35,000 to 3.11 million people within the latest period.

The main umbrella body for credit unions turned a €130m surplus for its 387 member bodies.

The Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) said the combined surplus of its members amounted to €227m, up from a €93m profit at the end of June 2011.

And it said that after years of cautionary budgeting, more credit unions should be in a position to pay dividends for 2012.

But it wasn't all good news as impairment provisions for bad and "doubtful" debts in the Republic rose from €672m to €723m.

And the report from the ILCU said that 16pc of all credit union loans are currently considered "doubtful".

ILCU chief executive Kieron Brennan said that most member unions have got their books in order.

He said that the overall figures are reflective of the economic challenges facing the country, but pointed out that as of the end of June, only five member unions showed a deficit, as opposed to 81 a year earlier.