A few weeks after 300 of Ireland’s credit unions were told to restrict their lending, the Irish Credit Union League said the environment here is indeed extremely challenging.
“There is no doubt that the past financial year has been difficult for the Irish economy,” the league said Thursday in an overview of the country’s credit union system. “The financial landscape remains extremely challenging and credit unions have been directly affected by the difficulties their members have faced and 2011 has seen increasing hardships for the Irish population who have been deeply affected by in rising unemployment and austerity measures.”
Ireland’s credit unions have provided approximately $2.2 billion in loans to their members, as of June, according to the league. Many of those loans at Ireland’s 400 credit unions are now in arrears, the Independent Digital reported, citing Irish CU League data. Arrearage has increased from 10% in 2009 to 18%, as of the end of June.
“When our members suffer, we suffer and it has been another difficult year for Irish credit unions,” wrote Kieron Brennan, ILCU CEO. “We will continue to work with the relevant regulatory authorities to ensure that the needs of the movement are fully reflected in any new legislation and regulation.”
The Credit Union Managers’ Association, a trade group in Ireland, recently reported that some 300 credit unions had been told by the Central Bank of Ireland to limit their monthly lending limit to under $127,650.
Meanwhile, the Central Bank’s Registrar of Credit Unions said it has been concerned with the growing number of credit unions that have losses in their loan portfolios. The registrar said it has developed a plan to help “weak and nonviable” credit unions while protecting members’ savings.