The Personal Micro Credit Scheme, PMC, provides for small-scale loans, ranging from €100 to €2,000 and known as It Makes Sense loans, by credit unions to borrowers who have difficulty accessing low cost credit. Currently 111 credit unions at 272 locations are participating in the scheme.
An Post facilitates the repayment of PMC loans for social welfare recipients who receive their payment through the post office, by utilising the Department's Household Budgeting facility to deduct the repayment amount from the social welfare payment and transmitting it onward to the relevant credit union. For borrowers receiving their weekly social welfare payment electronically into an account, the repayment method is by direct debit or standing order.
The It Makes Sense Loan is funded by the individual credit unions participating in the scheme. Each credit union assesses loan applications in line with the credit policy underpinning the It Makes Sense loan scheme. If an It Makes Sense borrower defaults on a loan repayment, the credit union bears the loss in the same way as for any of its other loan products. There is no State guarantee in place.
The credit policy underpinning the It Makes Sense Loan sets out a number of factors to assist credit unions with the loan decision process, a key factor of which is an assessment of the capacity and willingness of the borrower to repay.
In addition, in order to support participating credit unions, the PMC project team provides support and training to all credit unions offering the loans, and there is a helpdesk in place to assist them with any queries that may arise.
I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.