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ILCU credit union lending climbs by 3% to hit £482m

By Margaret Canning

over the last year, the organisation has announced. The ILCU said assets held within the credit unions, from cash and investments to fixed assets, had grown by 6% to reach £1.3bn.

Membership of ILCU credit unions in Northern Ireland also grew by 4% to 477,000.

There are 93 ILCU credit unions across Northern Ireland, including three in Londonderry, as well as a total of 15 in Belfast.

However, the ILCU does not include the institutions that are members of the Ulster Federation of Credit Unions, and a small number of independent bodies.

But the ILCU said assets held by its member unions in Northern Ireland had grown by 6%, or £78m, and astood at £1.36bn.

The average asset size of credit unions is now £15m.

Assets have been increasing now for six consecutive years, the ICLU said.

ILCU president Brian McCrory claimed the figures showed a "healthy upward trend".

"Credit unions have been very proactive in growing lending over the past year, and this has been demonstrated by the fact that the vast majority are now reporting lending increases.

"The figures are reflective of a movement that continues to grow and strengthen, while confidence continues to be expressed by the steady rise in membership, which has now reached 477,000."

The ILCU said 72 of its 93 unions in Northern Ireland had recorded growth in their loan books.

And the 3.4% growth of 2016 compared to an increase of 2% a year earlier, and 0.8% in 2014.

Lending in Northern Ireland has been growing for four years in a row, the ICLU said.

In 2014, the Duchess of Cornwall visited Ballyhackamore Credit Union in east Belfast during a visit with her husband to Northern Ireland.

The Duchess has been a strong supporter of the credit union movement as an alternative to payday loan companies for people on low incomes.

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