Irish minister visits north of England credit unions

The visit was organised by the Swoboda Research Centre

Seán Fleming, the Irish minister of state with responsibility for financial services, credit unions and insurance, was in the north of England on 15 March where he met with representatives of British credit unions.

The exchange was organised by the Swoboda Research Centre (formerly operating as the Centre for Community Finance Europe), which was set up in 2017 to produce, facilitate and stimulate action-orientated research that supports the credit union movement.

Along with colleagues from the Ministry of Finance and the Irish Consulate overseas trade teams, the minister heard about the similarities and differences between the Irish and the British credit union movements as well as the Swoboda Research Centre’s thoughts on green lending.

Mr Fleming, who is also TD for the constituency of Laois Offaly, met CEOs of Swoboda members Manchester Credit Union and No1 CopperPot Credit Union, Christine Moore and Caroline Domanski.

They discussed their credit unions’ high loan-to-savings ratios relative to the average in Ireland, and mortgage lending. John Haslam from the Association of British Credit Unions Limited (Abcul) also joined the meeting for a conversation on strategic mergers.

“I very much enjoyed meeting members of the British credit union movement,” said Mr Fleming. “It’s important we share our learnings and experience to build relationships and grow. My thanks to the Swoboda Research Centre for organising this visit, to Manchester Credit Union for hosting, and to No1 CopperPot Credit Union and ABCUL for participating.”