The Credit Union and Co-operation with Overseas Regulators Act 2012 was signed into law by the President in December 2012.
It was agreed at that time that it would be neither practical nor feasible to commence the Act in its entirety in one fell swoop. Following that, an implementation timetable for the 2012 Act was devised in consultation with stakeholders, including credit union representative bodies.
Commencement of all sections of the 2012 Act has been aligned with the credit union financial year and the introduction of the underpinning Central Bank regulations, with a view to implementation of the 2012 Act in a coherent and cohesive manner. This has provided credit unions with the time necessary to ensure that any required processes or procedures are in place prior to implementation of each tranche.
I have been informed by the Central Bank that the draft regulations set out in Consultation Paper 88 (CP88), will be introduced at end December 2015. It is my intention to commence the remaining sections of the 2012 Act on 31 December 2015 in line with the introduction of the regulations. These sections of the 2012 Act, when commenced, will replace, amend or supplement existing sections of the 1997 Act.
The Central Bank has informed me that it has now contacted all credit unions inviting them to attend upcoming information seminars being held around the country from mid-November to end-November. These seminars will provide credit unions with the opportunity to engage with the Central Bank on the new regulations and to discuss development of the credit union business model, including any changes to the regulatory framework that might be required to facilitate those developments.
In relation to the provision of additional services, where a credit union wishes to provide such services to its members, in addition to the services that are provided for under the Credit Union Act, 1997 (1997 Act), an application may be made to the Central Bank for approval to provide such additional services in accordance with the provisions set out in sections 48 to 52 of the 1997 Act.
The Central Bank has informed me that since 2010 it has received less than 10 applications for approval of additional services under sections 48 to 52 of the 1997 Act. These have all been received in recent months and are currently at a various stages of the approval process.
The Government's priorities remain the protection of members' savings, the financial stability of credit unions and the sector overall and it is absolutely determined to continue to support a strengthened and growing credit union movement.