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Northern Ireland credit unions and industrial and provident societies to benefit from legislative reforms

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Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister, Jonathan Bell, has welcomed support for the Credit Unions and Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Bill, which passed its final stage in the Assembly today.

The Bill will update the key Northern Ireland legislation governing the operation of credit unions and industrial and provident societies.

Speaking after the debate, Jonathan Bell said: “The sectors benefiting from these reforms play a key role in the Northern Ireland economy. Credit unions provide vital financial services to communities across Northern Ireland, and some of our largest and most successful businesses are registered as industrial and provident societies. Both will see positive changes.”

“Credit unions will be permitted to offer a broader range of products and, for the first time, to extend membership to local businesses and groups. Savers moving home or changing job will find it easier to keep their credit union account open and Credit unions will also find it easier to offer financial support to their local communities.”

“Industrial and provident societies will also find it more straight forward to engage with younger people, and to choose their own year of account. The Bill will relax the rules on the number of shares members can hold, making it simpler for our societies to secure the investment they need.”

The Minister concluded, “It is important credit unions and registered societies can carry on growing and work will continue to ensure both sectors operate within a legislative framework that supports this.”

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