The CU difference

  • Credit unions are owned by all their members. One Member One Vote.
  • Every credit union is a ‘not-for-profit’ financial co-operative.
  • Surplus income generated is returned to the members as a dividend to savers and interest-rebate to borrowers or it may be directed to improved or additional services for members.
  • Membership of a credit union is open to people who have, in relation to all other members, a unique ‘common bond’.
  • There are no transaction charges on loans or saving accounts.
  • Loans are insured at no direct cost to the eligible member.
  • Savings are insured at no direct cost to the eligible member.
  • Flexibility -you can repay a credit union loan earlier or make larger repayments than agreed with no penalty.
  • Additional lump sum repayments are accepted with no penalty.
  • The credit union also works in co-operation with the local community.
  • There is also a wide-range of insurance services for members.


At €750 million credit unions are the leading provider of Social Finance, the provision of finance that responds as much, and very often more, to the environment and social returns as to the financial return.

The benefits to the community of this type of lending are enormous. These include employment, community, education and environmental enhancement but there are also economic advantages that the credit union may reap.

International work

As Irish credit unions have progressed since their establishment in 1958, they have also begun to play a growing role in fighting poverty in some of the most deprived and needy places in the world…, by expanding the credit union self-help concept and supporting young credit unions and credit union start-ups and developments…, in places like Ethiopia, Gambia, Sri Lanka, Peru, Kenya, Malawi, Guatemala, Nigeria, The Caribbean, Albania and even Russia.

Currently Irish credit unions are sending over €1m a year overseas in support of deprived local communities through the ILCU Foundation; Irish micro-finance at work overseas!