Tue 22nd May
Foyle MP Mark Durkan, who is Vice-Chair of the House of Commons All Party Group on Credit Unions, said: “It is regrettable that between procedures in Whitehall and Stormont, it has taken so long to bring this legislation forward.
“In a debate last year, I raised issues about credit unions in Britain and changes coming through commitments of the Financial Services Bill which is having its third reading today.
“While we are happy that progress is being made, the fact is that it is taking far too long.
“It is disgraceful that these sensible changes which were set out in 2008 and are supported by everyone, should take such a long period of time, particularly when services available through credit unions in Britain have increased again before we have managed to make changes in Northern Ireland.
“Credit unions are disappointed at the Financial Service Authorities plans to restrict their investment options and I have led two all-party groups of Northern Ireland MPs to meet with the Treasury Minister Mark Hoban and, separately, the Financial Services Authority and I regret that they have not acceded to the very sensible propositions which were put.
“We will be taking this matter up again with the Financial Services Authority whose new Credit Union regulatory role will be taken over by Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA). We will continue to talk to them and encourage the Assembly Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment to do the same.”
SDLP Enterprise, Trade and Investment spokesperson Alban Maginness said: “I welcome the progress that has been made to date in reforming credit unions and in providing a basis to expand their services to the public.
“Arlene Foster has indicated that she will bring forward legislation in the 2013/2014 period. The SDLP will be pushing her to bring that forward to an earlier date as people in the Credit Union movement are anxious to provide more services to members and potential members.
“I welcome the support of Enterprise, Trade and Investment Committee and that which the Department will give to credit unions in their administrative transition to the Financial Services Authority (FSA).
“This is necessary support because there will be a significant burden imposed on credit unions in order for theme to conform with the necessary conditions laid down by the FSA.
“It is vital that we encourage everyone to work together to achieve an early and profitable conclusion to Credit Union reform. The SDLP will continue its campaign to make this a reality in the Assembly and at Westminster.”
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