Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Ceisteanna (161)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

161. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Finance his plans to introduce community banking on a wider scale here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23743/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

As the Deputy is aware, my Department in conjunction with the Department of Rural and Community Development, issued a report on Local Public Banking in Ireland last year. The report concluded that there is not a compelling case for the State to establish a new local public banking system based on the German Sparkassen model in Ireland.

However, a commitment was given in the report that my Department would arrange for an independent evaluation to consider how the objectives of community banking and how the local provision of banking and financial services could be furthered through other delivery mechanisms as well as continuing ongoing engagement with stakeholders and interested parties on this issue.

Following a procurement process, Indecon International Economic Consultants have been appointed to carry out this independent economic evaluation and run a stakeholder engagement forum. Work on the independent evaluation is underway and a stakeholder forum was held on 28 May 2019.

The purpose of this stakeholder forum was to obtain a better understanding of potential alternative models, as well as any gaps in or lack of such services that may exist. It provided an opportunity for stakeholders and interested parties to share their experiences, views, ideas and suggestions in relation to community banking and the local provisions of banking and financial services including ways to improve and further these services for the benefit of local, rural and regional communities and businesses.

Indecon will prepare a report on the economic evaluation and the work of the stakeholder forum. The findings and recommendations of this report will inform any future policy action taken by my Department in order to better support local access to banking and financial services and access to finance by small businesses.