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Credit unions praised

A LEADING economist has given credit unions in Ireland a clean bill of health and noted that they have a key role to play in economic recovery.

Mark Myer, chief executive of independent think-tank the Filene Institute, said that credit unions around the world have retained the trust of their customers due to the "local" nature of their model.

However, Mr Myer said that some of the credit unions will most likely merge their operations as the movement battles through challenges ahead. He said there were great challenges ahead for the movement but that it was fortunate that it had not cost the taxpayer any money.

"They will need to be prepared for incremental changes or transformational changes in financial services landscape and have the necessary competencies from the board and the manager in the era," said Mr Myer, chief executive of the Filene Research Institute, US.

He said leaders would need to seek out possibilities of consolidation or collaboration that is "realistically aligned with their strategic plans or expectations".

A survey among credit unions found that nine out of 10 credit unions said they would consider mergers. The survey also found that just one in 10 are happy with the existing sector leadership, with the same number not optimistic that they will be here in the future.

The Filene Institute assesses issues affecting the future of consumer finance and credit unions in the US and around the world.