The Irish League of Credit Unions is worried that new measures being introduced by the government to regulate banks will have a seriously detrimental effect on credit unions throughout the country.

The ability of Credit Unions to give small loans to members would be seriously affected and they might also be precluded from paying dividends if a new Bill went through the Oireachtas as it stood, warned Mandy Johnston, Head of Communications for the League of Credit Unions.

A spokesperson for St Dominic’s Credit Union in Waterford confirmed that managements at all Credit Unions were most concerned, on behalf of their members, about the consequences of the proposed legislation and the effects it would have on small savers and borrowers.

Ms Johnson said Credit Unions should not be punished for the behaviour of the banks. New government measures might deliver redemption for the banks but they could make credit unions redundant in their efforts to help ordinary people. She pointed out that the average credit union loan to families, workers, students and small business owners was in the region of €9,000. Credit Union membership was now 2.9 million and many thousands of families were utterly dependant on credit unions at this time.

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