The programme for Government envisages that An Post, the Irish League of Credit Unions and other interested stakeholders will be asked to investigate and propose a new model of community banking, such as the Kiwibank model in New Zealand, which could be delivered through the post office network.
The programme for Government also includes a commitment to investigate the German Sparkassen model for the development of local public banks that operate within well-defined regions.
The role of my Department in this regard is to work with other Departments and stakeholders to examine the feasibility of these and potentially other models of community banking.
My Department is actively working with the Department of Finance to make progress with the commitment in the programme for Government.
Both Departments are following an agreed work programme on this matter. A public consultation was launched on 2 March to seek views on the community banking model. Interested parties are invited to submit their views to my Department by 29 March.
Submissions may be made via my Department's website or by post. Further details are available on the website.
A number of key stakeholders have also been contacted directly and have been invited to meet representatives from the two Departments. Senior officials from both Departments recently met representatives of the German Savings Banks Foundation for International Cooperation and Irish Rural Link to discuss the viability of the Sparkassen model of local community banking in an Irish context. All views received on this matter will be carefully considered and I anticipate that work on the examination of community banking models will be completed by the middle of the year.