Credit unions are one Ireland’s quiet financial services success stories. Usually based on local or employment connection, they have helped millions of members boost their savings and manage their money.
As people’s savings and earnings have recovered over recent years, more and more money is flowing into credit union savings.
A sign of success – and an opportunity to invest
But due to record low interest rates, and the cost of meeting Central Bank of Ireland capital rules, many credit unions are introducing limits on how much cash members can save with them.
It’s a sign of success – and also an opportunity for savers to consider if they should invest some of their money in assets with greater scope for long-term growth.
The Irish Times has reported that at least 36 credit unions have imposed a savings cap on their members.
This is mainly because it costs the credit union money to place those funds with Irish banks.
In some cases, credit unions have set a maximum amount for new savings. But others are forcing members to withdraw existing savings, giving them no alternative but to look elsewhere for savings options.
Drumcondra Credit Union, for example, has introduced a savings limit of €15,000 per member.
Given the outlook for interest rates, at Moneycube, we expect that the trend for credit unions to impose savings caps will only continue for the near future.
Is there an alternative?
Clearly, the obvious alternative is to move the amount affected to another provider, such as a bank or State Savings.
But if you are affected, perhaps now is the time to consider investing a portion of your money into assets with the possibility of growth.
While Moneycube always recommends keeping some of your savings in cash for emergencies, investing is a serious alternative for the rest – especially when the interest available in credit unions and banks is so low.
If you can afford to invest your money over the medium term, and accept the risk that investments can go down as well as up, there are many alternatives.
Read more on Moneycube’s options for the cautious investor
At Moneycube, we’ll provide advice from a Qualified Financial Advisor on your options.
If you’re investing for the first time, investment funds are ideal. They are professionally managed, and place money in many different assets in order to spread your risk and give your savings multiple chances to grow.
We’ll also advise you on ways to manage your exposure to the investment market, such as by drip-feeding your investment. And we’ll consider your need for instant access to your savings, just like you’d have if your money was kept in cash.
How do I find out about investment alternatives to credit union savings?
At Moneycube, you can let us know your situation online, and we’ll soon advise you on a fund that meets your requirements.