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Press Release

Doherty Initiative to Encourage More Credit Unions to Offer Micro-Credit Loans

Published: 16 December 2019
From: Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

The Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty T.D. is delighted to announce that Credit Unions will no longer have to pay the 25 cent charge per transaction to An Post for access to the Household Budget (HB) for members availing of the 'It Makes Sense' (IMS) loan under the Personal Micro Credit Initiative.

Minister Doherty said,

From January, Credit Unions will no longer be charged a transaction fee for the ‘It Makes Sense’ loans – my Department will cover this cost directly.

Administrative arrangements have been agreed with An Post with a start date of 3 January 2020. As well as reducing the monetary costs to Credit Unions, the new arrangement will help to lessen the administrative burden for Credit Unions offering ‘It Makes Sense’ loans.

Minister Doherty added,

I am pleased to be in a position to support the ‘It Makes Sense’ Loan scheme, which has at its centre, the aim of moving people away from the use of high cost moneylenders and providing access to low cost personal loans. Credit Unions have stated that the 25 cent charge per transaction to An Post was a barrier to increasing the number of Credit Unions participating in the ‘It Makes Sense’ loan scheme. I therefore expect that reducing the cost of administering these loans will see an increase in the number of Credit Unions offering this important service to their local communities.
I welcome the fact that almost half of the country’s Credit Unions are already supporting their more vulnerable members with these loans and helping to reduce dependence on high cost moneylenders in their communities. It is therefore important that more Credit Unions offer ‘It Makes Sense’ loan.

Currently 109 Credit Unions (and their 162 sub offices) are participating in the initiative. Almost 7,000 ‘It Makes Sense’ loan repayments are being facilitated weekly via An Post’s Household Budget facility.

Commenting on today’s announcement, President of the Irish League of Credit Unions, Gerry Thompson said,

We very much welcome this important development from Minister Doherty. The Irish League of Credit Unions has funded and supported the Personal Micro Credit scheme from the outset and has sought the removal of the transaction charge which has been a barrier to more Credit Unions getting involved. The removal of the 25 cent transaction charge will ease the burden on our 109 Credit Unions that are already providing the ‘It Makes Sense’ loan to those in society who need it the most. We are committed to continuing to encourage more people to turn away from moneylenders and today’s news will, I hope, lead to more of our Credit Unions signing up to provide the ‘It Makes Sense’ loan.

Ends

Note for Editors

The Personal Micro Credit initiative provides for small scale loans ranging from €100 to €2,000 known as ‘It Makes Sense’ loan, by Credit Unions to borrowers who have difficulty accessing low cost credit.

The aim of the scheme is to move people away from the use of high cost moneylenders as a mechanism to provide for their planned financial needs and to provide an alternative legitimate and low cost personal loan scheme.

The ‘It Makes Sense’ loan is offered by Credit Unions at 271 locations nationwide. Loan repayments can be made by social welfare recipients through the Household Budget facility operated by An Post, by direct debit or by standing order.

Currently almost 7,000 loan repayments are being facilitated through the Household Budget This figure does not include loans that are fully repaid, top-up loans or loans being repaid by direct debit or standing order.

The scheme is designed to offer an opportunity for an individual to build up a good credit history and move on to standard loans, and ultimately, to access other financial services and products available from their Credit Union.

Information on the scheme and regular updates, including the list of participating credit unions are available at here

Press Office

Address:
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Áras Mhic Dhiarmada, Store Street, D01 WY03