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Continued growth in ILCU assets and savings in Northern Ireland

Credit Unions in Northern Ireland now have assets of circa £1,050 million as at June 2012, a rise of 3.1% from last year. Savings in Credit Unions across the North are up 6.1% from last year with the total figure standing at £899 million as at June 2012, a rise of £65million since year end 2011.

Overall, Credit Union membership continues to grow in Northern Ireland with 9,000 more Credit Union members in Northern Ireland than there were in 2011. There are over 430,000 members across 101 ILCU affiliated Credit Unions in Northern Ireland.

Despite unemployment in Northern Ireland rising to 7.6% in June, Credit Unions’ loan books have not been drastically affected, with only a slight decline of just 1.5% in the loan book overall from last year. Loan arrears have risen since last year but this trend reflects the rising unemployment rate in Northern Ireland.

For the 9 months to June 2012, just 1.05% of Credit Union loans in Northern Ireland have been written off as bad debts. This amounts to £4.2 million while provisions for bad and doubtful debts stand at £26 million in Northern Ireland. There are likely to be transfers to reserves and provisions for bad and doubtful debts this year end as credit unions align themselves with the new FSA requirements on reserves and provisions. Credit unions have already been making adjustments in this regard, and these prudent transfers and adjustments to reserves and provisions will likely impact on the amount of dividend and interest rebates credit unions will pay out. Overall levels of reserves and capital among ILCU credit unions in Northern Ireland are very strong, at present, the total reserves amount to £122 million.

Commenting on the release of end-year return figures Chairperson for the Northern Ireland Credit Union Committee Rosemary O’ Doherty said:

"There is no doubt that these are tough financial times in Northern Ireland with unemployment here now rising above the UK average but ILCU credit unions continue to provide financial help to communities across the North as well as a trusted place to store savings, something that is evident from the 6.1% growth in savings since 2011."

 "The Credit Union movement remains committed to supporting members as it has done over the course of the last five decades. We hope that members will continue to reap the benefits of healthy dividends and interest rebates here in Northern Ireland. Credit Unions recognise the problems and issues that rising unemployment and economic hardship can bring but just like in times of strife in the past, our movement is strong, our principles remain the same and we are owned by the communities which we serve."

The Irish League of Credit Unions is a representative body for 488 credit unions on the island of Ireland. 101 of those Credit Unions are based in Northern Ireland. 

Credit unions are Ireland’s most successful, not-for-profit financial co-operatives