Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Economics 21/04/2010: De-capitalizing Credit Unions

Per latest leaks from the financial regulators: In order to allow credit unions greater flexibility in re-scheduling loans, Section 35 of the Credit Union Act 1997 is amended to increase the proportion of the loan book of individual credit unions comprising loans of greater than five years duration, subject to appropriate liquidity provision and accounting transparency.

This, in effect, is the plan for de-shoring up capital reserves at the Credit Unions, which so far have the lowest level of financial transparency in operations amongst all financial institutions licensed to conduct retail business in the country. Whatever hides underneath that iceberg, one can only wonder. However, it is now clear that our regulators are concerned with the unions' ability to re-negotiate non-performing loans and to, thereby, avoid calling in loans on ordinary households.

Credit unions under this provision will be allowed to extend loans maturity, providing relief to the households who cannot repay their debts. However, unless householders' problems leading to delinquency on loans are temporary and short-term in nature, this measure will simply dig a deeper debt hole for already financially distressed families.

And the news have implications for the banks. Recall that in theory credit unions should have been the most conservative lenders in the nation. If they are now experiencing significant pressures on their consumer loans, what can be said about the banks who hold jumbo mortgages, top-up mortgages and car loans leveraged up to 6-8 times peak 2007 income?

How long can this charade last?

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Interesting article about the Garda Credit Union