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Credit Unions to take on banks with current accounts

THE head of Letterkenny Credit Union has described as “historic” the granting of powers that will enable the institutions to roll out a full range of current account services.

The move, fully approved by the Central Bank, marks a significant step forward for credit unions here and is likely to put pressure on the main high street banks.

Following the ruling thirty credit unions nationwide have already begun to offer members services including debit cards with contactless payments, standing orders and overdraft facilities.

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Chief Executive of Letterkenny Credit Union, Gordon Randles, said its customers will have to wait a bit longer for the current account roll out. But it is on the horizon, he confirmed.

“We are down the road with an application, the board has backed and approved it and it is something that will be provided here in the near future,” Mr Randles said.

The Letterkenny Credit Union chief executive said that following the ruling, the local branch has been contacted by numerous customers asking when the debit card card service will be available.

Gordon Randles said the decision by the Central Bank to allow credit unions to offer facilities similar to banks was important in that it will enable them to stay relevant to young people in what is becoming an increasingly cashless society.

“It is historic in that we are moving away from the old shares and loans community-based products. And it will allow us to keep in touch with what is known as Generation X, the millenial generation, which is important.

“We need to be available to the next generation and if we stand still, we will fade.”

The development has also been welcomed by Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, who said it comes at a time when financial services in communities are increasingly being depleted.

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