Introduction

We have recently launched our new creditunion website and some of the new features we have included are Social Media, such as Facebook, Twitter and this our Presidents Blog.





I hope to maintain a regular blog here, where we can share inclusive and informative debates on how we can progress in terms of services.





Martin Sisk

President

ILCU















Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Launch of 2014/ 2015 Art Competition



The Irish League of Credit Unions has today launch the annual All Ireland Art Competition. The competition, which attracts over 30,000 entries each year, is one of the biggest competitions for children and adults alike and has been running for over 30 years.

The Art Competition continues to celebrate the outstanding talent of people, young and old, across the country. It is so very important to allow budding artists an outlet for artist expression on a national stage. This year’s theme ‘Artfest’ is open to interpretation by each entrant but aims to celebrate the creativity, imagination and vibrancy of Irish people and their communities.

Of course art can takes many different formats and this year, we were delighted to have Dublin based graffiti artist VENTS along to help us launch the competition. You can click on the following link to see a time lapse video of VENTS in action.


For anyone interested in participating in this year’s competition, there are two categories – a General Category and also a Special Category for entrants with a physical or intellectual disability. There are five age categories, ranging from 7 and under to 18 and over. Entries must be submitted via your local credit union.

As ever, local winners at credit union level in each category go forward to Regional Finals. Winning entries from regional level go through to the National Final. Prizes will be awarded at each stage and a National Awards Ceremony will be held in February 2015 in Croke Park and will be hosted by TV personality Marty Whelan.

I would like to wish all entrants the very best of luck and I hope to see you at the National Final awards ceremony in Croke Park in February.

Friday, September 5, 2014

ILCU CALLS FOR GREATER REGULATION OF THE PRIVATE INVESTIGATION INDUSTRY


Following the initiation of a review of credit unions using private investigators and a meeting with the Data Protection Commissioners in August 2014, the ILCU has today called on Government, as a matter of urgency, to address the issue of regulation in the private investigation sector.
The ILCU strongly feels that it is unacceptable that a situation prevails whereby private investigators are not licensed or regulated in this country. This is something that we believe the Government needs to urgently address. The ILCU has also this week issued a working document to all credit unions outlining stringent guidelines on data protection. The document complements the materials on data protection previously circulated by the ILCU to our affiliated credit unions and outlines the statutory obligations that credit unions have when dealing with members’ personal data. This has been done to ensure that all credit unions are fully informed and can make the best decisions when it comes to hiring private investigators or tracing agents.
While the Data Protection Commissioner maintains a register of private investigators operating here, this is not a licensing or vetting process. The responsibility for regulation lies not with the Data Protection Commissioner but with the Private Security Authority which was established under the Private Security Services Act 2004.  The Private Security Authority (PSA) commenced preliminary work on assessing the scope and activities of the private investigation sector in Ireland in May 2013 by way of questionnaire . However, the ILCU is not aware of when the licensing of private investigators will be introduced nor does the PSA appear to have given any commitment in this regard as there is no statutory mechanism in place. It is completely unacceptable that a situation prevails whereby private investigators are not licensed or regulated in this country and we immediately call on Government to rectify this situation.
The Irish League of Credit Unions has strongly condemned the use of illegal activity by some private investigators and are taking the necessary steps to ensure that no credit union that is using a private investigator or tracing agent is breaking data protection law. The ILCU will continue to provide data protection training through the CU Learning & Development Department and will work closely with the Office of the Date Protection Commissioner to produce a Code of Practice on Data Protection for Credit Unions in the coming months.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

ILCU Launch Results of Costs of 3rd Level Education Study

Today, after a nerve wracking wait, 57,000 leaving certificate students around the country will receive their results. It is an anxious time for both parents and students alike and we wish everyone the very best of luck. Don’t despair if you don’t get the points that you wanted, there are plenty of options open to you and plenty of advice out there too. It is usually at his time of the year we take a look at just how much third level education costs. In July 2014, we asked parents of college going children about the cost of sending their children to college in Ireland. The results highlight what the impact of sending children to college (in financial terms) has on family spending and budgets as well as the challenges and concerns parents have in relation to finance, grants, living away from home and job prospects.

Here is what parents are saying:

79% of parents in Ireland support their children with college related cost by contributing an average of €428 per month per child. However, 64% of all parents struggle in some way with the costs of college. 39% of parents say it is really hard and feel the costs are constantly increasing with a further 18% saying that they will not be able to manage college related costs for their children at all.

In terms of how parents cover the costs – the tracker shows that savings are now the most common way in which parents fund their children’s third level education (47% of parents say they will use savings in August 2014 compared to 42% in 2013. This is followed with monthly income (46% in 2014 v 44% in 2013), credit union loan (29% in 2014 v 25% in 2013) is the third most common option followed by a grant (12%) 

The study also finds that many parents are planning ahead for college related costs for their children with parents are now saving for an average of 8 years to ensure they have enough savings to cover the cost of sending their children to college.

72% of family budgets have been adversely affected by the increased registration, this figure is the same as the tracker research findings in August 2013. 60% of parents say they will just about be able to manage to pay it. A further 12% say they can’t afford to pay it and are worried that their child will have to drop out of college as a result. Only 28% say the increased costs will have no impact on them.

42% of students receive a grant (this includes small grants like Erasmus mobility grant). This represents a decrease of 6% since 2013. 21% believe that the grant is sufficient to cover college related costs.  79% of parents believe the grant is not sufficient.

44% of students now live away from home compared to 32% in 2013. The average monthly rent has increased to €346 (countrywide) from €343 in 2013. 

42% of parents say that their biggest concern is that their child will not get a job after college, misuse of alcohol is the second most pronounced worry (14%)

51% of students will have to work to contribute to the cost of their college experience. A typical student with a job works an average of 19 hours per week throughout the academic year. Female students are working slightly longer hours than male students.

Going to college can be very stressful for parents as the cost of third level education can certainly be a significant financial burden. Families are already struggling with the wider impact of austerity and the economic downturn and paying for college has become increasingly challenging for many. The increased registration fee of €2750 alone puts huge pressure on family budgets but when you factor in all of the extras, rent, bills, food, travel etc, the costs begin to spiral.
 
We want to let people know that credit unions are available to support both parents and students as they prepare for the academic year. Credit unions offer some of the most competitive personal, student and education loan rates on the market. We encourage anyone who is looking to finance their education or who simply want some advice on planning ahead or budgeting to call into their local credit union and speak to a member of staff.

 
For Example

In relation to credit union rates, many offer a dedicated student loan rate, which is often significantly less that the credit union’s standard rate. This is done to make third level education as accessible as possible for students. Of those credit unions who offer dedicated student loan rates, the average rate is approximately 6.4% APR. Some credit union offer rates as low as 4%.

Sample Rates

For a €3,000 student loan at a rate of 4% (4.25% APR) with 12 monthly repayments of €255.45, the total amount repayable by the member will  be €3,065.40

For a €3,000 student loan at a rate 5% (5.1 % APR) with 12 monthly repayments of €256.82, the total amount repayable by the member will  be €3,081.87

 

Mountmellick Credit Union - 4% (4.25% APR)

Gorey Credit Union - 4.9% (5% APR)

Mullingar Credit Union - 5% (5.1% APR)

Castleblayney Credit Union - 5% (5.1% APR)

St. Anthonys and Claddagh  Credit Union - 6% (6.2% APR)

Castlebar Credit Union - 6.5% (6.7% APR)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Annual GR8 Savers Week



Every year, credit unions around the country take part in GR8 Savers Week. This is a week-long initiative aimed at encouraging a savings habit among younger children, while educating young people on how to have a smart relationship with money. In 2014, GR8 Savers week will run from Monday 12th – 18th May 2014.

We have all been witness to the recent economic instability in this country and many of us are being impacted as a result of austerity measures.  There continues to be a daily struggle for many families in terms of their personal finances. Our quarterly household income and expenditure the ‘What’s Left’ tracker  shows us that since December 2013 those in mortgage arrears increasing; more and more people are turning to their credit card to make ends meet at the end of the month, hundreds are putting off paying their essentials bills every month and worryingly there has been an increase in those turning to moneylenders to bump up monthly income in the struggle for financial survival. Given how important financial skills are in navigating life, it is vital that we educate younger members of society about the merits of investing in their own futures, by sound financial planning and responsible money management.

It is true to say that most of us have learnt a very hard lesson about the value of money and the importance of saving for a rainy day, no matter how small the amount. Our young people are no different and it is incumbent on us all to ensure that our children recognize not only the value of money but also the importance of understanding how saving works. Credit unions in communities around the country want to help local parents to give their children a solid financial education from a young age and we would invite any member of the community to call into their local credit union office to join in the fun and activity.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

CoverU.ie Car Insurance

In exciting news, it was announced at the recent ILCU AGM that credit unions can now offer online CoverU.ie car insurance. The announcement comes just months after the launch of the CoverU.ie worldwide travel insurance.

The recent ILCU ‘What’s left’ tracker showed that
  • 6 in 10 motorists switching car insurance in the past 12 months in an effort to reduce motor related costs
  • One in four motorists find car insurance expensive and cannot afford to pay it. A further 53% feel there is good value in the insurance market but still struggle to make their insurance payments.
  • 85% of motorists have taken measures to cut down on car related expenses down  and over half (54%) drive less to save on petrol. Switching providers (insurance and garage) is also more popular than when the last research was undertaken in April 2012.
  • 21% of motorists have changed their car to a smaller, cheaper to run model and a further 32% intend to change their car. There has been a fall in the number of people paying their car insurance on time 91% in April 2014 down from 94% in April 2012. 6 in 10 adults have delayed servicing their car as they can’t afford it.
  • 34% of motorists are really struggling with the costs of motoring
The new CoverU.ie car insurance will be a website based product that will offers members greater accessibility, good value and most importantly excellent cover, providing peace of mind when motoring. Coveru.ie car insurance is being offered in conjunction with AIG Europe which offers car insurance. Apart from offering great value, the other advantages of coveru.ie car insurance include:

  • Unique offer for credit union members – 12 months cover for the price of 11 months.
  • No administration fees if you make a change to your policy during the year i.e. no setup fee or if you make a change to your policy
  • Flexible products tailored to suit your needs.
  • Automatic stepback no claims bonus or optional protected no claims bonus
  • Breakdown assist and legal expenses - optional
  • Driver Personal Accident Cover - optional

A unique AIG Telematics Smartphone App is available to download when you purchase CoverU.ie car insurance and offers you real time information on your driving, gives you a score for each completed journey and allows you to track your progress toward additional discounts and receive offers from AIG.

RTE News Coverage: http://www.rte.ie/news/2014/0426/611903-credit-unions/

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Update on Judicial Review Proceedings

We welcome the news that the proceedings are being withdrawn on the commitment from the Central Bank of Ireland to do new asset reviews in relation to all of the credit unions named in the judicial review litigation and a new understanding with the Central Bank of Ireland, which will explicitly involve the Irish League of Credit Unions (“ILCU”) in the regulatory affairs of its affiliated credit unions.

The terms of settlement of the litigation include an agreement that the Central Bank will conduct new asset reviews, and the publication of a letter of intent from the Central Bank of Ireland to the ILCU.  This result is a significant step forward for ILCU affiliated credit unions and commits the Central Bank of Ireland to a real and meaningful engagement with the ILCU and its affiliated credit unions, together with the opportunity to have the ILCU represent and/or assist those credit unions in their dealings with the Central Bank of Ireland.

ILCU affiliated credit unions are best served where the regulator works in conjunction with the ILCU and through this settlement, the Central Bank of Ireland acknowledges the unique role of the ILCU.

A significant purpose of this litigation was to achieve a new way of operating on the part of the Central Bank of Ireland which involves the ILCU and this has now been achieved.  This is a positive and very welcome development for ILCU affiliated credit unions and all those who want and need to have a healthy, vibrant and flourishing credit union movement.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Galway set to host major Credit Union Youth Conference


This weekend the Irish league of Credit unions will hold its annual Youth Conference in Galway. This is the 8th annual Youth Conference and the two day event, which will see over 200 credit union representatives travel to Galway, is one of the most popular and important in the credit union calendar. The conference is an opportunity to share information and for credit unions to learn from one another. Young people are very important to the credit union movement and this particular age group have been hit hard by the downturn in the economy with high levels of youth unemployment and indeed emigration. Credit unions are very cognisant of their role in supporting young people in Ireland and this event allows us to share ideas on how to further engage with this segment of the population.
 
A key item for discussion on the agenda is the importance of credit unions growing and expanding their range of services, particularly electronic services, for young credit union members. The conference will also look at the role of the credit union in assisting families and students to meet the escalating costs of third level education. A number of other topics such as engaging, empowering and supporting young people and the role of the credit union in providing broad financial education to secondary and third level students in Ireland will also feature throughout the event. The conference participants will hear presentations from the National Youth Council of Ireland, the ILCU Youth Committee and social media experts, among others.
 
Credit unions are deeply involved at local community level in Ireland and we want to continue to play a role in helping families provide children and young adults, not only with a financial education, but also a good savings habit from a young age. In fact throughout every life stage - communion / confirmation, back to school, college, weddings, buying a car, making home improvements and planning a funeral - the credit union is there to help.  We are delighted to be back in Galway and as always we look forward to interesting presentations and lively debate throughout the conference weekend