Following consultation and input from various quarters over a number of months, the Credit Union Bill 2012 was published on 28 September 2012.

The detailed explanatory notes accompanying the Credit Union Bill 2012 (the Bill) state that the purposes of the Bill are:

  1. to amend the regulatory framework for the setting of prudential requirements for credit unions,
  2. to amend the governance requirements for credit unions including providing for the separation of the functions of the management and board of directors of a credit union,
  3. to provide for the restructuring of credit unions, and
  4. to provide for a stabilisation mechanism for credit unions.

The Bill follows the publication in June of the Bill’s general scheme setting out its proposed framework and content, and the public consultation launched by the Minister for Finance on this general scheme which closed in August. The Bill adopts many of the recommendations of the Commission on Credit Unions as set out in its final report published in April.

The Central Bank of Ireland has welcomed the publication of the Bill. The Registrar of Credit Unions, James O’Brien, has stated that “The Credit Union Bill 2012 represents a pivotal moment in the history of the credit union sector. This Bill creates a modern regulatory framework within which credit unions can develop prudently and provides for the necessary restructuring of the sector to make it sustainable into the future.”

However reaction from other interested parties has been mixed on certain aspects of the Bill, for example in relation to those provisions which make certain categories of individuals (including family members of board members or employees) ineligible for appointment to the board of a credit union.