DUBLIN (4/27/10)--In what is described as the biggest single change to the Irish credit union movement in decades, delegates at the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) approved plans for a new payment service that would allow credit unions to offer debit cards and electronic transfers. They approved the plans during the league's annual general meeting last weekend at the University of Limerick. More than 1,500 delegates representing 505 credit unions attended (The Irish Examiner April 26). Establishing a credit union service organization (CUSO) was a key issue at the meeting. The approved CUSO "will be the biggest thing to hit the movement in decades, answering the calls from members and nonmembers alike about access to payment solutions, specifically electronic debit transfers, electronic credit transfers and debit cards," said ILCU President Mark Bailey. Kieron Brennan, CEO of the ILCU, said the "momentous" decision was required by members, who called to say " they have lost faith in other financial institutions and the level of trust they have in credit unions is at an all-time high, and they would like to have more access to a bigger range of financial services through our credit unions." Less than 10% of credit unions affiliated with the league have the ability to provide electronic funds transfers and just 5% provide debit cards. In other news from the conference, Financial Regulator Matthew Elderfield warned credit unions to remain vigilant for another challenging year due to the country's economic circumstances. Credit unions are in the front line of the battle to ensure these problems are kept at bay, he said. He added loan arrears and level of rescheduled loans have risen sharply the past two years.