The Programme for a Partnership Government envisaged that An Post, the Irish League of Credit Unions and other interested stakeholders would 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.
My Department is actively working with the Department of Finance to progress the Programme for a Partnership Government commitments. A public consultation process, seeking views on the community banking model, was launched in early March and ran for four weeks, to 29th March. My Department received a total of 16 replies from a range of stakeholders and all submissions are now available on my Department’s website at:
Senior officials from my Department and the Department of Finance also met with representatives of the German Savings Banks Foundation for International Cooperation, Irish Rural Link and the Public Banking Forum of Ireland to discuss the viability of the Sparkassen model of local community banking in an Irish context.
All views received in relation to this matter are being considered and I anticipate that work on the examination of community banking models will be completed by the middle of the year. A report will be submitted to Government at that stage.