The Central Bank and Financial Regulator have announced plans for an independent review of the credit union sector.

The review, to be carried out by Grant Thornton, was requested by Finance Minister Brian Lenihan. The first phase will look at the financial position of credit unions, and what type of risks they are exposed to.

A statement from the bank and regulator said the rules for supervising credit unions had to be adapted to ensure that they remained viable in a new financial environment.

Grant Thornton will consult credit unions directly, carrying out surveys, interviews and site reviews to collect information.

The review will assess how credit unions are run, how they operate their business and whether the rules and legislation governing them are appropriate.