The Credit Union is an Irish Institution so it’s natural to consider it when thinking about financing your own home. In our Credit Union Mortgage Ultimate Review – Ireland 2021 we will give you the inside track on a Credit Union mortgage and what other options are available.
As someone who used to lead the mortgage product team in PTSB I’ve kept a close eye on Credit Union’s entry into the mortgage market.
- The good news is there are now over 100 Credit Unions across Ireland offering mortgages to their members.
- The bad news is that those mortgages aren’t anywhere near as attractive for members as the low rate and flexible credit terms of the Credit Union’s personal loan offerings.
Credit Union mortgage rates are typically 70% higher than leading lenders rates and although they have some local flexibility on approvals it’s nowhere near as forgiving as that you would get for a Credit Union personal loan.
Lending rules for Credit Union mortgages laid down by the Central Bank of Ireland limit the number of mortgages Credit Unions can dole out to members and also the who gets them.
For most people then, the non bank lenders ICS Mortgages, Finance Ireland and Avant Money are still the best option for low rates and forgiving approval terms. You can see how their rates compare to the Credit Union’s typical mortgage rate of around 4% APRC here.
Read on to find out if a Credit Union mortgage still makes sense for you and the other options for a great rate and easy approval.
Credit Union Mortgage Rate and Product Overview – Credit Union Mortgage Ireland 2021
Credit Union Mortgage Availability
Don’t forget to get a Credit Union mortgage you have to be a member of the Credit Union you want the loan from. Typically you will need to be a member for at least 6 months before you can take out a Credit Union mortgage.
Another thing to watch out for is that a Credit Union mortgage is only available on your principal private residence. In other words if you want a mortgage for anything other than the home you live in most of the time, such as a holiday home, investment property or even a self build, a Credit Union mortgage isn’t an option.
Most Credit Unions also have tighter restrictions than other lenders on the loan to value, looking for 80% or less. This means you would have to find 20% of the house value for a deposit versus 10% with most other lenders.
Credit Union Mortgage Loan Size and Term
Credit Unions limit the size of the mortgages they offer by region due to differences in house valuations and Central Bank rules. Typical limits are,
- €100,000-€350,000 – Dublin, Louth, Meath, Kildare, Cork, Galway
- €100,000-€250,000 – Rest of Ireland
Credit Union mortgage terms are typically available from 5 to 35 years.
Credit Union Mortgage Approval Policy
Just like other lenders, the Credit Union has to be sure you have the capacity to repay the mortgage loan before giving approval. This capacity to repay will take into account other loans you may have, dependents and also whether you can still afford the repayments if interest rates rise significantly in future.
If you have an existing savings account and a history of saving or paying your rent or Credit Union personal loans off regularly this will help with approval.
Credit Union Mortgage Rate
Many Credit Unions are now offering both fixed and variable mortgage rates. The actual rates vary by Credit Union, however as they are all working within the same rules and cost constraints our research has shown them to be within 0.1%-0.3% of each other nationwide generally.
To help compare with other lenders, we have used the Member First Credit Union in Dublin, whose rates are typical of other Credit Union rates, in the table below.
|Member First CU||3 Year Fixed||3.5%||4.1%|
|ICS Mortgages||3 Year Fixed||1.95%||2.38%|
|Member First CU||Variable Rate||4.25%||4.33%|
|ICS Mortgages||Variable Rate||2.45%||2.53%|
Typical Credit Union rates are up to 70% higher than the leading lender rates available. This would cost you an extra €20,000+ on a typical mortgage. You can see how these rates compare to all other lenders on the market here.
Annual Percentage Rate Charge (APRC) represents the average rate across the lifetime of a typical mortgage and is recommended as the best rate to use for comparisons by the CCPC. 
Pro’s & Con’s – Credit Union Mortgage Ireland 2021
- Local office ability to talk face to face with an advisor
- As an existing member your account history might provide evidence you can make the repayments that other lenders might not consider
- Limited mortgage product offering, principal private residence only and capped amounts
- Expensive, rates 70% more than other lenders
Recommendation – Credit Union Mortgage Ireland 2021
Although Credit Unions have a fantastic reputation and for personal loans offer great rates and approval terms when it comes to mortgages we recommend you strongly consider other lenders.
Not choosing a Credit Union doesn’t mean choosing a bank. There are a number of non bank lenders such as ICS, Avant Money and Finance Ireland that offer better rates than the banks and more flexible approval approaches.
Alternatives – Credit Union Mortgage Ireland 2021
- Rates from 2.29% APRC
- Fixed for 3-30 Years
- Tight approval policy
- Rates from 2.29% APRC
- Fixed for 3-7 Years
- Flexible approval policy
- Rates from 2.53% APRC
- Fixed for 3-25 Years
- Flexible approval policy
In a Nutshell – Credit Union Mortgage Ireland 2021
The non bank lenders Avant Money, ICS Mortgages and Finance Ireland offer the best combination of rates and approval flexibility for most people looking for a mortgage.
Rates with these lenders are typically 30% lower than the banks and up to 70% lower than with a Credit Union. These lenders are available through a broker or through one our mortgage sherpas.
The banks are typically more expensive and less forgiving on approvals, whilst the Credit Union only makes sense if you have exhausted your all other options.
Next Steps – Credit Union Mortgage Ireland 2021
If you want to see what you could save by calculating your repayments and see all mortgage provider rates you can click here.
If you want to get your savings started right now, set up a free no obligation video call with a mortgage sherpa here.