X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

DUBLIN, Ireland – Until now, Irish credit unions have not offered their members business loans. Most loans are for household items or cars. During the 2005 United Nations Year of Microfinance, the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) thought credit unions needed a way to advance into this area. Most credit unions do not have the staff expertise for small business loans. ILCU, which supports Ireland’s 530 credit unions, has for the last few months explored a partnership with First Step, a not-for-profit organization that provides loans to start-up businesses and to small businesses wishing to expand. The loans are under _25,000 (US$29,825). Since First Step’s founding by Norma Smurfit in 1991, over 1,500 small businesses have had been helped. Over 3,000 jobs have been created from the projects. A pilot program is being designed to test the working relationship between First Step and credit unions. The selection of First Step was logical. It received international recognition, including winning a European competition “Access to Finance” for its best practices within the area of microfinance. They have been accredited by the European Investment Loan Guarantee Scheme (“scheme” is a positive word used in place of “plan” in Irish-English) and have spoken at many conferences throughout Europe. ILCU feels that partnership with First Step would help credit unions expand the services that they could offer to their membership, which in turn would increase their loan portfolios. The expertise of First Step would help credit unions learn to assess business loans. Even if a credit union lacked the resources to provide the loan, ILCU believes a referral to First Step would build member loyalty. -

Credit Union Times

Join Credit Union Times

Don’t miss crucial strategic and tactical information necessary to run your institution and better serve your members. Join Credit Union Times now!

  • Free unlimited access to Credit Union Times' trusted and independent team of experts for extensive industry news, conference coverage, people features, statistical analysis, and regulation and technology updates.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and Credit Union Times events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including TreasuryandRisk.com and Law.com.

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join Credit Union Times

Copyright © 2019 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.