Two Laois credit unions are among seven nationally who have been chosen to take part in a brand new government scheme.
People First Credit Union which operates in Portlaoise, Abbeyleix, Stradbally and Athy and St Canice’s Credit Union with office in Durrow, Mountrath and Rathdowney have been approved to participate in the Government Credit Guarantee Scheme.
This scheme is the biggest ever State backed loan guarantee in Ireland.
The scheme offers 80% Government guarantee to participating banks and credit unions to provide Irish businesses and farmers with access to low interest loans as they respond to the impact of Covid-19.
A number of banks have already been approved to participate in this scheme and this is the first time credit unions have now been approved.
Interest rates on these loans will be lower because the Government guarantees 80% of the loans and thereby reduces the risk to credit unions and banks who give out these loans.
In addition no personal guarantees or collateral is required for loans under €250,000.
Minister of State at the Department of Finance with special responsibility for Credit Unions, Sean Fleming, says that this is really good news for Laois local credit unions and small businesses and the farming sector in the area.
He said: “This is really good news that 2 of the 7 Credit Unions nationwide that will be participating in the COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme are operating in Laois.
“Credit Unions are ideally placed to support the recovery providing loans to local businesses as a key element in the recovery.
“I want to compliment the Boards and the Chief Executives of our local Credit Unions in getting directly involved in this Credit Guarantee Scheme and I look forward to them providing loans to many businesses throughout the County.
“I also wish to stress that businesses or farmers need not previously have been clients of these Credit Unions or particular banks to apply for lending under this new scheme.
“Finally, I have been in touch with other Credit Unions to support them in participating in this new scheme as soon as possible.”
Loans ranging between €10,000 and €1m, for terms of between 3 months and 5.5 years, will be available to local businesses under the scheme.
Seán Dunne, CEO of People First Credit Union, said: “Our inclusion under the Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme means we are ideally placed to support our local businesses who have been adversely affected by Covid-19.
“We have a strong track record of working with the community to address the real needs our members face.
“Our approach to the CCGS will be no different, and we look forward to serving the needs of local businesses as they look to recover from a challenging period.”