Credit Union Handbook 

1. Purpose of the Credit Union Handbook 

In order to assist credit unions in the implementation of the strengthened regulatory framework (see Section 4 below) the Central Bank has developed a Credit Union Handbook ("the Handbook"). The purpose of the Handbook is to assist credit unions by bringing together in one place a number of legal and regulatory requirements and guidance that apply to credit unions, arising from their authorisation as credit unions. The scope of the Handbook includes:

  • the Fitness and Probity regime for credit unions;
  • new governance and prudential requirements for credit unions inserted into the Credit Union Act, 1997 ("the 1997 Act") by the Credit Union and Co-operation with Overseas Regulators Act 2012 ("the 2012 Act");
  • existing requirements applying to credit unions contained in the1997 Act;
  • The Credit Union Act 1997 (Regulatory Requirements) Regulations 2016 ("the Regulations"); and
  • other requirements that apply to credit unions arising out of their authorisation as credit unions such as consumer protection, anti-money laundering requirements and the EBA Guidelines on the Security of Internet Payments.

2. Regulations

On 1 January  the remaining sections of the 2012 Act and the Regulations commenced. These Regulations, combined with the commencement of the remaining sections of the 2012 Act and the prudential and governance requirements already in place, provide an appropriate regulatory framework for the credit union sector at this time.

The regulations are available at the following link:

Credit Union Act 1997(Regulatory Requirements) Regulations 2016

A Frequently Asked Questions document ("FAQ") which provides answers to questions relating to implementation of the Regulations is available at the following link.

3. Handbook Chapters

The Handbook contains the Chapters set out below.

The Introduction Chapter sets out details on the structure, contents and operation of the Handbook.

1.   Introduction

2.   Glossary

3.   Legal Definitions

4.   Accounts and Audit

5.   Additional Services

6.   Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism

7.   Borrowing

8.   Consumer Protection

9.   Fitness and Probity

10. Governance

11. Internal Audit

12. Investments

13. Lending

14. Liquidity

15. Operational Risk

16. Outsourcing

17. Reserves

18. Risk Management and Compliance

19. Savings

20. Strategic Plan

21. Transfers of Engagements and Amalgamations

 Appendix 1: Documentation required to be maintained pursuant to the 1997 Act

 Appendix 2: Enforcement

 Appendix 3: Appeals under the 1997 Act

A consolidated version of the Handbook is available at the following link. To navigate to a particular chapter in this version "click" on the Chapter name on the contents page.

A Frequently Asked Questions document which provides answers to questions relating to the implementation of the new governance and prudential requirements is available at the following link.

3. Updates made to the Credit Union Handbook

The Handbook was initially issued in draft format in July 2013 to facilitate feedback from credit unions and other sector stakeholders.

The Handbook was updated to reflect the feedback received and was issued with a revised publication date of September 2013.

The Handbook was updated in December/January 2015/2016 to reflect the commencement of the remaining sections of the 2012 Act and the Regulations.

Details of updates that have been made to the Handbook since September 2013 are available at the following link.

The most recent update to the Handbook was made in January 2016.

4. The strengthened regulatory framework

On 24 September 2012, the Minister for Finance commenced Part 3 of the Central Bank Reform Act 2010 for credit unions. Following consultation, a new Fitness and Probity regime for credit unions came into effect on 1 August 2013 and will be fully implemented by 1 August 2016.

Many of the Commission`s recommendations have been reflected in the 2012 Act  which was enacted on 19 December 2012.

On 11 October 2013, the Minister for Finance signed the Credit Union and Co-operation with Overseas Regulators Act 2012 (Commencement of Certain Provisions) (No.2) Order 2013. The majority of the new governance and prudential requirements that the implementation plan indicated would commence on 1 October 2013 came into effect on 11 October 2013.

On 3 March 2014, arising from the Credit Union and Co-operation with Overseas Regulators Act 2012 (Commencement of Certain Provisions) Order 2014 signed by the Minister for Finance on 26 February 2014, a small number of provisions of the 2012 Act commenced.

The main amendments to the 1997 Act arising from the commencement of these provisions are as follows:

  • section 15(1) of the 2012 Act  substitutes a new section 53, relating to the board of directors;
  • the remaining part of section 24 of the 2012 Act inserts section 66C, relating to the submission of an annual compliance statement to the Central Bank;and
  • the remaining part of section 27(1) of the 2012 Act inserts section 76O(7), relating to the board oversight committee report to the members at the AGM.

(Item 46 of Schedule 1 of the 2012 Act also commenced on 3 March 2014. This replaces a reference to the Supervisory Committee with a reference to the board oversight committee and replaces a reference to section 54(5) which related to notification of intention of all directors to resign with a reference to section 53(17) which now contains this requirement.)

On 1 January 2016 the remaining sections of the 2012 Act commenced and the Regulations came into effect. The Central Bank is of the view that the Regulations, combined with the commencement of the remaining sections of the 2012 Act and the prudential and governance requirements already in place, provide an appropriate regulatory framework for the credit union sector at this time.