Credit unions given more time to merge

The Government is to extend until next year the operation of a State body, which was set up to fund and help credit unions to merge.

So far just 36 enlarged credit unions have been created with the help of the Credit Union Restructuring Board (ReBo).

This is less than half of the number that had been expected to merge. ReBo is the body originally due to cease operations at the end of the year.

The merger plan is voluntary, but large numbers of credit unions resisted attempts to get them to form larger groupings.

Traditionally each credit union was owned and operated separately, with its own manager, board of directors, and other functions.

But just 74 credits have been involved in mergers to create 36 enlarged groups, according to a review published by Finance Minister Michael Noonan.

Another 189 credit unions are engaged with ReBo at varying stages of the restructuring process. This corresponds to more than half of the credit union sector, the department insisted.

ReBo has been provided with €250m in funding to finance mergers, but the net cost of the fund is set to be no more than €20m.

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