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MEPs discuss credit union regulation


17 Nov 16

The European Parliament’s Credit Union Interest Group has discussed the impact of regulation on the sector.

The group’s latest meeting in Brussels heard two guest speakers discuss how regulatory burdens affect the economics of credit union operations in countries around Europe.

Lecturer of Finance at Queen’s University Belfast Dr Barry Quinn presented data on credit unions in the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom and argued that Irish credit unions have recently moved from a position of increasing returns relative to scale to a position of decreasing returns relative to scale in large part because of increased regulatory burdens. 

World Council of Credit Unions Vice President and General Counsel Michael Edwards discussed how changes to EU-level regulation can help the European economy by allowing credit unions to increase their lending to consumers and small and medium-enterprises in member states.

European Parliament Vice President Ryszard Czarnecki MEP (Poland) co-chairs the group, and said: “Today’s discussion can be the starting point for a deeper reflection on how best to promote growth in Europe through regulatory reforms that unlock the full potential of credit unions and improves the lives of their members.

“As cooperative deposit-taking institutions that are owned by their customers, credit unions are the perfect financial institution for promoting fair and equitable economic growth for ordinary Europeans.”

The Interest Group, which brings together Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from Poland, the Republic of Ireland, Austria, Finland and the United Kingdom with credit union trade associations in the European Network of Credit Unions, was formed two years ago and meets regularly to bring key issues affecting the credit union movement to the attention of European lawmakers.

The UK is the best represented country in the Group’s membership, with a total of 6 MEPs signed up including the Group’s Vice Chair Richard Howitt MEP (Labour, East of England), Anneliese Dodds MEP (Labour, South East England), Vicky Ford MEP (Conservative, East of England), Molly Scott-Cato MEP (Green, South West England), Catherine Stihler MEP (Labour, Scotland) and Kay Swinburne MEP (Conservative, Wales).

ABCUL Chief Executive Mark Lyonette said: “ABCUL is proud to be a founding member of the European Network of Credit Unions, and while we await clarity on whether any EU legislation and regulation might continue to apply to British financial institutions post-Brexit, we will continue to engage with our European colleagues and EU institutions for the foreseeable future.”

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