Credit unions in for "radical change" – President Higgins

Significant restructuring could be on the way...

Credit unions in for "radical change" – President Higgins

Photocall file photo

'Uncertain times ahead' was the overall message at the Irish League of Credit Unions' 2016 AGM over the weekend.

In his opening address in Limerick, President Michael D Higgins set the tone. Noting the "significant set of challenges" the movement had faced, he declared it to be a time of "radical change" for the credit union.

President Higgins said:

"We need new forms of working together that will transcend the shortcomings of our recent experience...

"Indeed I have no doubt that the radical thinking, innovative will and great spirit of humanity on which the credit union movement was built will continue to definite it in the future".

He also praised its ethics and spirit as an important part of the economic recovery, in how it placed "solidarity and the collective welfare above any self-serving individualism".

The conference ended as it began; with change on the horizon.

There was widespread support voiced for a new review that has identified the need for a more cost-effective and co-ordinated credit union movement.

The review, conducted by Dr Eddie Molloy and Advanced Organisation, is calling for an "empowered centre" to act as the foundation of a sustainable model that delivers an "ethical" product range.

The final report goes before the Irish League of Credit Unions in early summer. The board may then decide to call a special general meeting to approve the changes it ultimately sets out.

Last September, Irish credit unions topped a 'Best Customer Experience' survey conducted by Amárach Consulting for Customer Experience Ireland, beating out 149 other brands and organisations.