Credit unions boast 3m members
Credit unions in Ireland boast the largest number of members in Europe, new figures reveal.
Three million people are members of the savings and loans unions across the country, which represents 75% of the population.
Irish League of Credit Unions chief executive Kieron Brennan said this was testament to the loyalty of its members.
"As many people in this country feel the pressure of increased bills and living expenses, it is important that they have alternatives to the high cost services of moneylenders which often trap households into a cycle of debt," said Mr Brennan.
"We want our members to know that we will put them first at all times and will continue to provide these local, accessible services well into the future."
The new figures, released by the European Network of Credit Unions, showed there are 1,169 credit unions operating across Europe, with over 6 million members.
Among those, 498 unions are based in Ireland and have total savings of nearly 12 million euro.
"Credit unions have been operating in Ireland for over 50 years and we value all of our members," Mr Brennan went on.
"We are delighted to see the familiar faces coming in through the doors and welcome all of our new members who have joined us in the past years.
"These figures highlight again the strength of the Irish movement and the loyalty of our members in communities and parishes across the country."