DUBLIN, Ire. (4/19/12)--Ireland's Commission on Credit Unions Wednesday announced its final report, which recommends the credit union movement there undergo a four-year voluntary restructuring process that would include mergers and transfers.
Under the recommendation, a new Restructuring Board would facilitate the process by giving funding to approved credit unions to ensure they have enough money and to upgrade their systems (Irish Examiner and Irish Times April 18).
A tiered regulatory framework would be phased in with less onerus requirements on smaller credit unions, said the commission, whose recommendations were announced in a press conference by Commission Chairman Prof. Donal McKillop.
An operating work team would act as a catalyst, identifying strong credit unions that could act as anchors for other amalgamated credit unions. The decision to engage in the process would be up to each credit union, McKillop said.
He pointed out that 60% of Ireland's population is in a credit union, but the movement had not developed to the extent that it had in the U.S., Canada and Australia. He said he envisioned a long-term consolidation process within the movement.
Most of the 51 credit unions that had insufficient funds for the required reserves level at the end of 2011 were smaller credit unions.
The Irish Credit Union League (ICUL) said members of smaller credit unions will particularly benefit from the restructuring.
ICUL CEO Kieron Brennan noted smaller credit unions that currently keep limited opening hours and services could offer a broader range of services and hours under the restructuring.
Legislation incorporating the commission's recommendations will be published in late June.