Changes to credit union investment regulations announced

01 February 2018 Press Release


  • Announcement follows public consultation on changes to the investment regulations.
  • Changes introduce three new investment classes for credit unions.
  • Changes will facilitate increased diversification in credit union investment portfolios.

The Central Bank of Ireland today announced changes to the investment regulations for credit unions. Three new investment classes are being introduced, accompanied by the introduction of specified credit quality, maturity and concentration limits. The new investment classes being introduced are:

  • Bonds issued by Supranational Entities;
  • Corporate Bonds; and
  • Investments in Tier 3 Approved Housing Bodies[1](AHBs).

In order to ensure that the investment framework remains appropriate for the credit union sector, the Central Bank undertook a review of the investment regulations in 2017. This review considered whether it was appropriate and prudent to facilitate investment by credit unions in other classes of investments. Consultation Paper 109 (CP109) set out our proposed changes to the framework, which were primarily aimed at increasing diversification in credit union investment portfolios, and invited feedback on these proposals. A feedback statement on CP109 including amending regulations to give effect to the changes is published today. The submissions received to the consultation are also published.

The Central Bank has given detailed consideration to the submissions received on the proposals set out in CP109  and this feedback has influenced the approach in areas such as:

  • Concentration limits for new classes of investments;
  • The application of liquidity requirements; and
  • Transitional arrangements for the revised counterparty limit.

The amending regulations introduce changes to the liquidity framework. This reflects the significant feedback which was received on this topic through the consultation process.

Where credit unions seek to diversify their investments it will be important that they fully understand the risks associated with such investments. Credit union boards must ensure that investment choices are taken in line with their risk appetite bearing in mind the regulatory obligation under the credit union investment framework not to expose member funds to undue risk.

Registrar of Credit Unions Patrick Casey said:

“The revised framework announced today allows for greater diversification in credit union investment portfolios, while recognising that it is not appropriate for credit unions to invest in riskier, more complex financial products. The sector’s desire to increase investment options has been facilitated, with a recognition that the funds being invested are credit union members’ savings.

These changes demonstrate the flexibility provided by the Central Bank’s regulation-making powers. The sector brought forward detailed proposals around the provision of funding to approved housing bodies for the provision of social housing. Following comprehensive engagement and consultation, this is now provided for.

The Central Bank is committed to reviewing and updating credit union regulations following public and industry consultations to ensure they remain appropriate and proportionate for the sector in the future.”


1 The regulatory code applied to AHBs divides AHBs into three tiers – Tier 3 refers to larger AHBs.