Irish CU regulatory framework has evolved since financial crisis, report says

September 28, 2015

WASHINGTON (9/28/15)--The regulation of Irish credit unions is improving since the financial crisis, but their regulator can take steps to enhance its performance, according to a review by the International Credit Union Regulators’ Network (ICURN).

Credit unions have been in Ireland for more than 50 years, with 383 registered credit unions with €14.3 billion in assets serving more than 3 million people. The financial crisis led to the creation of a single authority responsible for regulation, the Central Bank of Ireland.

The Registry of Credit Unions (RCU) was created by statute within the Central Bank of Ireland to assume responsibility the registration, regulation and supervision of credit unions. This was done to reflect the unique nature of credit unions.

A 2011 report by the Commission of Credit Unions found that Irish credit unions had “extremely high” market penetration, but their regulatory environment was “not a mature movement.”

Since then, however, recommendations from the Commission of Credit Unions report led to a “comprehensive, interventionist, outcome-driven regulatory approach,” according to the ICURN report.

While the ICURN Credit Union Peer Review team was impressed by the quality of the Central Bank’s regulatory framework, it also recommended:

  • The Registry of Credit Unions, which maintains safety and security of members’ assets ,consider the ways its risk-based supervisory framework could be most effectively employed;
  • Enhancement of communication and engagement with individual credit unions to ensure regulatory framework changes are absorbed and embedded within each institution; and
  • Ensuring that attention and resources are focused on key risks, particularly credit risks, that have “real potential to cause material damage to its objectives.”