Social Democrats propose expanding credit union services to include current account facilities

The party has launched its policies on community banking, which would see expanded services for credit union and post office customers

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The Social Democrats want to expand the services of credit unions to include current accounts and mortgages.

The party says that Ireland's 380 credit unions and more than 1,100 post offices have huge potential to do more to serve communities.

Launching their policies on community banking, the new party says that - with co-operation from the State and Central Bank - credit union and post office customers would have full current account facilities, such as debit cards and online banking.

The new party also says credit unions have €8bn in deposits in pillar banks, which currently cannot be accessed by local communities.

The party argues that the proposals would lead to increased local investment and improved sustainability for credit unions.

Social Democrats co-leader, Roisin Shortall, believes there is a demand for a different way to do banking.

"I think people are looking for more choice in their banking options... and a lot of people would be very keen to do all of their banking with their local credit union," she suggests.

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