Credit Unions “crucified” by Central Bank Fitzmaurice accuses

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Credit Unions have been “crucified” by the Central Bank for years now a Galway TD has said, blaming ‘Big Brother’ tactics for closures.

Galway-Roscommon TD Michael Fitzmaurice made this accusation after recent reports from the Central Bank that the number of Credit Unions has fallen from 406 in 2011, to 241 this year.

“Well lets be very clear about this, the Central Bank has crucified Credit Unions over the last number of years,” the Independent TD said.

Deputy Fitzmaurice said he knew of a Credit Union which was solvent and functioning well, when they were asked by the Central Bank to reduce their lending threshold.

“When the board decided at the given time not to reduce it because it is a very solvent Credit Union, they were basically told by ‘Big Brother’ that if they didn’t reduce it there would be repercussions.”

“Then the Central Bank has the audacity to come along and tell people how Credit Unions are going to find it hard to survive,” Michael Fitzmaurice said.

“There seems to be a Central Bank and Government policy that if you don’t close it one way, you can close it in another way.”

He accused both of forcing the closure of smaller credit union branches, as they cannot avail of the same terms offered to banks when it comes to lending regulations.

“How much have Credit Unions cost this country? Unlike the banks, they haven’t cost anything – as first of all they were able to finance things themselves and secondly the money accumulated was used to improve the services available at Credit Unions.”

“The Central Bank should be promoting Credit Unions in rural Ireland where they have allowed bigger banks to abscond and leave many rural towns without any banking facilities – or a reduced service.”

But instead of that he said that the Bank and government are acting in a way that will drive financial institutions out of towns in rural Ireland.