The Sinn Féin Deputy Finance Spokesperson, Peadar Tóibín yesterday claimed that the Credit Union sector is being held back back by the Government in comparison to Irish banks.
He claimed that 85% of the market is concentrated in two pillar banks and that this gives incredible seller power to these banks which can be abused in terms of mortgage interest rates, mortgage arrears, lending and customer service.
Speaking at the Banking and Finance Committee, Deputy Tóibín said, "We have a crisis within lending to small business. The government have created a whole ecosystem of new lending facilities to small business which have received really low take up due to them being funnelled through the two pillar banks. We also have a serious problem with regards money lenders charging impossible rates of interest to low income families.
"On the other side of the equation, we have the Credit Union sector who came through the banking crisis remarkably well and who have €13 billion of assets.
"Today in Committee they spoke of threats to their sector and how they could be doing a lot more if allowed to do so.
"It is clear to me that the government have put an illogical brake on the sector preventing it evolving to meet the needs of citizens. Robust regulation is a must. That’s not in question. The question is does this government want the Credit Union sector to play a full and fruitful role in the lives of the community or to push them to margins."