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The Dublin Solutions Center, which is run by the Credit Union Development Association, said business with younger clients had “increased tenfold” since it began introducing digital lending services.

Credit unions involved in the Solution Center include Tullamore in Offaly, St Anthony’s and Claddagh in Galway, Dundrum in Dublin, as well as St Canice’s in Kilkenny, which is the largest community credit union in the country.

The association said that Facebook now accounts for up to 15% to 20% of loan applications per month for some credit unions, and that nearly half of those who ask on social media for a loan had never borrowed from a credit union before.

Credit unions participating in the digital loan marketing program saw loan growth of 15-20% in a relatively short period of time, he said.

The Facebook loan process involves a 30-second online survey, followed by reminders from loan officers to explain the terms and conditions. More and more credit unions are signing up following a pilot phase, the association said.

Chief Executive Officer Kevin Johnson said: “The motivation behind our move into the fintech space was reinforced by the results of a recently commissioned national survey of 1,000 people across the country, 57% of whom were stated that, if given a choice, they would prefer to apply for access to credit from a lending institution using an online channel such as Facebook, rather than going to a branch and meeting with a bank employee or credit union.