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Irelands CU movement posts solid 2008 financials
BELFAST, Ireland (5/1/09)--Ireland credit unions posted solid 2008 financial results, but warned that declining investment values could hurt their performance in 2009. Affiliated credit unions recorded overall growth in assets, loans and membership in 2008, said the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU), which represents 508 credit unions in Ireland (The Belfast Telegraph April 16). Member loans rose for the second year in a row---up 6.7%. In Northern Ireland the average loan was up 6.8% from the previous year, while in Ireland the average loan rose 8.7%. Total credit union assets grew 0.2%, meaning the overall loan-to-asset ratio at the end of 2008 was 50.7%, up from 47.8% a year earlier. Member savings remained stable, the ILCU said. However, Kieron Brennan, chief executive of the ILCU, told the newspaper the economic downturn and writedowns in global investment values will have a negative impact on credit union dividends in the year ahead. “In keeping with accounting procedure and best practice, each individual credit union will have to recognize the current value of its investment assets on its annual financial accounts,” Brennan told the paper. “What it will mean in accounting terms is that the trading surplus for a number of credit unions will be reduced for the 2009 financial year ending in September, and there will be a number that will be unable to pay a dividend next year. “This should not be taken as an indication of any serious problems in the movement generally, rather it is an indication of the very rigid prudential structure in which the movement operates,” he added. “The movement remains financially robust despite its exposure in that area, and the Registrar of Credit Unions has confirmed that fact.”

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