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Credit Unions time For change?

Is it time to overhaul the strict regulations governing Credit Unions in Northern Ireland – that is the topic of a lecture by a University of Ulster Professor of Accounting tomorrow evening.

Professor Anne-Marie Ward will critically evaluate the arguments for regulatory change and offer insights from the sector in Great Britain and in the Republic of Ireland.

She said: “Credit Unions are an important provider of financial services in Northern Ireland. Approximately one quarter of the adult population in Northern Ireland are members of a credit union.

“The sector has achieved steady growth since its formation in 1960, however growth rates have tapered off and the sector is not achieving the potential that many believed it would.

“Credit Unions in Northern Ireland are considered to operate in one of the strictest regulatory environments in the world. Policy makers believe that regulatory reform, similar to that introduced in Great Britain, will provide impetus for growth. 

“Regulatory change raises important issues that go to the heart of the movement: What is the vision of the Credit Union movement? Has self-regulation a role in the movement going forward? Is growth a desirable goal? If achieved, are there risk implications? And, should credit institutions with a social mandate seek to grow and compete with high street banks?”

Professor Ward’s lecture, ‘Credit Unions: Is it the Right Time for Regulatory Change?will be held on Wednesday 30 November 2011 in the Jordanstown campus.