Brady supports extension of Credit Union Services
Sinn Féin Assembly Member Mickey Brady has argued for the introduction of support measures to enable Credit Unions to provide a wider range of services, including current accounts.
Speaking at an Assembly debate on recently, Brady stated, “The credit union movement is not simply a financial institution, lender or service provider.
“It is very much an integral part of every community that Sinn Féin represents. It is a grass-roots movement that is community-led and is exactly the kind of institution that we should be proud to support.
“At their inception Credit Unions were a response by civic-minded people to meet the needs of those sections of society that most needed support. They created an institution that would give people, particularly those with the least power and fewest resources, more control over their finances.
“What started as a small initiative has turned into a national movement with over half a million members and 168 branches across the North. Research by the Irish League of Credit Unions showed that 45% of 18- to 24-year-olds in the North are members of a credit union,” he continued.
“If Credit Unions are to continue to grow and service their members and communities, they must be able to offer a wide range of services, including current accounts. Newry has led the way on many of these issues.
“Newry Credit Union — my local credit union — was the first in the North, and indeed in Ireland, to offer its members a current account service. Its members can access an ATM and use a Visa debit facility to access cash and use the card in-store and online.
Brady added, “In Newry, the ability to access that important service is valued. Citizens across the North should have access to a similar standard of service. We can help to make that happen by providing financial support to those credit unions that wish to offer that vital facility to assist them with the start-up costs.”
Local Councillor Dáire Hughes added, “Fifty-three bank branches have closed in the North in the past two years alone. There are already several towns and villages, including Bessbrook, that no longer have a bank.
“We are all too aware of the impact that such closures have on our communities. Credit Unions have the potential to fill this gap, especially in rural areas such as my own, by offering full current accounts to local people.”
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