This chapter applies to all credit unions.
A central feature of credit union business is maturity transformation. That is taking short term deposits (in the form of share accounts) from members and making comparatively long-term loans. It is important, in order to maintain confidence and protect members, that a credit union has adequate liquid assets (liquidity) to enable it to fulfil members' withdrawal requests within expected timeframes.
The liquid assets held by a credit union should be sufficient to meet its day-to-day business needs and to provide an appropriate cushion in the event of pressure arising from unexpected events.
"Unattached shareholding" means any shares in the credit union that are treated as freely withdrawable. This includes shares held by members in a class of share account, intended for use as a current account, or otherwise in connection with ancillary services (as defined in section 9 of the Credit Unions Act 1979), even if (through the existence of a related loan) the free withdrawability of the shares may be terminated by the committee at any time in accordance with section 7 of the Credit Unions Act 1979.22
Under section 7 of the Credit Unions Act 1979, if a withdrawal of shares would reduce the member's savings with the credit union to less than his total liability (including contingent liability) to the credit union whether as borrower, guarantor or otherwise then:
The most reliable interpretation of section 7 is that the committee may exercise this discretion on a case-by-case basis, but may not treat all such shares as freely withdrawable. This does not mean that every individual case has to be put before the committee. A case can be decided by an official of the credit union, applying a comprehensive policy laid down by the committee. This policy should be fully documented and set out all the factors that might lead to permitting the withdrawal. (Permitting the withdrawal should be the exception, not the norm.) If a decision is not clearly dictated by the committee's policy, then it should be referred to the committee itself.2
The policy may extend to designating as freely withdrawable for the time being the shares in a class of share account, intended for use as a current account, or otherwise in connection with ancillary services (as defined in section 9 of the Credit Unions Act 1979). Where such shares are subject to the committee's discretion in section 7 (through the existence of a related loan) the credit union should not purport to give a contractual commitment to the free withdrawability of the shares, because that section means that the committee is capable of terminating the designation at any time.2
'Total relevant liabilities' means the sum of: