New regulations for credit unions now in force 

Press release 11 January 2016

  • Regulations signed by the Registrar of Credit Unions on 1 January 2016
  • Regulations build on existing prudential and governance requirements
  • Long-term protection of members savings and financial stability at core of new rules 

Following a public consultation process, the Credit Union Act 1997 (Regulatory Requirements) Regulations 2016 came into force for credit unions on 1 January 2016.

The regulations cover a number of areas including reserves, liquidity, lending, investments, savings, and borrowings, building on existing prudential and governance requirements in these areas. They build on existing prudential and governance requirements in these areas and include the establishment of types of categories of loans which credit unions may provide together with related limits, counterparty and maturity limits for investments and a maximum individual members’ savings limit of €100,000.

Registrar of Credit Unions Anne Marie McKiernan said: “The Report of the Commission on Credit Unions made a number of recommendations regarding the strengthening of the regulatory framework for credit unions. These regulations mark a further important step in the development of a strengthened regulatory framework for the credit union sector and will contribute to the maintenance of the financial stability of the credit union sector. This is in line with our statutory objective to ensure credit unions protect the funds of their members.

“We will continue our focused engagement and dialogue with credit unions in order to understand how the sector envisages future development of the credit union business model and the implications for the regulatory framework. We are committed to reviewing these regulations and consulting with credit unions to update them where appropriate and as the sector further develops.”

The regulations are available here. Any queries in relation to the regulations should be directed to rcuconsultation@centralbank.ie

ENDS

Notes to Editor

The Report of the Commission on Credit Unions made a number of recommendations regarding the strengthening of the regulatory framework for credit unions and also recommended that regulation making powers be delegated to the Central Bank. Many of these recommendations were reflected in the Credit Union and Co-operation with Overseas Regulators Act 2012 (the 2012 Act), which was enacted on 19 December 2012.

The introduction of the strengthened regulatory framework began on 1 August 2013 with the commencement of a tailored fitness and probity regime for credit unions followed by the introduction on 11 October 2013 of new governance and prudential requirements. In November 2014, the Central Bank issued CP88: Consultation on Regulations for Credit Unions on commencement of the remaining sections of the 2012 Act. A feedback statement on CP88, together with the draft regulations, was published on 31 July 2015. These documents are available here.

The remaining sections of the 2012 Act, which were commenced on 1 January 2016, replaced, amended or supplemented sections of the Credit Union Act, 1997 and provided the Central Bank with the power to make regulations. The regulations were signed by the Registrar of Credit Unions on 1 January 2016 and commenced for credit unions from that date. There are transitional arrangements for certain areas ranging from 12 months to two years from commencement date of the regulations. The regulations were laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas on 5 January 2016 and a notice of their commencement was published in Iris Oifigiuil on 8 January 2016.

These regulations coincide with the commencement of the remaining sections of the Credit Union and Co-operation with Overseas Regulators Act 2012 (the 2012 Act).