The Swoboda Research Centre was established to produce, facilitate and stimulate action-orientated research that supports the credit union movement. At Swoboda, we believe that research that informing credit unions’ response to risks and opportunities contributes to sustainability and success.

Irish credit unions are facing a particularly challenging contemporary environment, but there has not been a visible, comprehensive overview of research taking place or required into the Irish credit union sector. The Swoboda Centre took the initiative to convene on 14th January 2022 a colloquium for the sharing of perspectives, priorities, current and potential research projects in Ireland. Attendees included academics, credit union CEOs and representatives from trade associations, government and the regulator. Here is a short report on the event.

The credit union leaders emphasised the urgent need for more insight into lending, but also raised the wider question of the purpose and business model of credit unions into the future. Academics shared the various initiatives already underway, and explained some of the barriers and opportunities for future work, notably the lack of data on the movement as a whole and – inevitably – funding.

It was a valuable discussion, with understanding shared and ideas generated. The Swoboda Research Centre will take responsibility for converting as many as we can of the most relevant into action. Swoboda will also hold a similar event focused on the UK in due course.

If you have any thoughts on this report, on research requirements in Ireland or Britain, or would like to get involved, please contact the Centre via Nick Money,