About half the Credit Unions in Ireland are currently under some kind of restriction on the loans they can provide.
The imposition of lending restrictions is the responsibility of the Registrar of Credit Unions, who is the independent regulator for credit unions.
The Registrar has had to put lending restrictions in place at Credit Unions in order to protect the savings of members and to ensure that credit unions focus on risks when making lending decisions.
According to the Minister for Finance in a written reply to a question -about 50% of all Irish credit unions are currently subject to lending restrictions.
Of the credit unions with lending restrictions – about 65% are allowed to lend €20,000 or more to an individual member. Just under 3% of credit unions are restricted to loans of less than €10,000 to an individual member, and less than 1% of credit unions are restricted to lending less than €5,000 per member.
Credit Unions have come under the spotlight in recent months – and the government have had to put aside €250 Million to help them out. One Credit Union in Newbridge , Kildare – had a special manager appointed this month to try and sort out problems. The Central Bank took over the running of the third-largest credit union in Ireland becsue of fears that it had not set aside enough money to cover potential losses from property-related loans.