A year ago in April 2022, Swoboda Research Centre introduced a new series called The Reflection Series: Insight and Experiences from Practitioners, giving a platform for practitioners – executives, directors, staff and others – to present their views and ideas. The series commenced with Managing Risk in a Credit Union by Caroline Domanski, CEO at No1 CopperPot Credit Union, the largest police credit union in Britain, commenced the series. In this piece, Caroline, who is also the chair of Swoboda, presents her experience of developing and implementing a risk management framework for the credit union, and shares a variety of knowledge from the lines of defence in risk management framework, to defining what it means to be “risk intelligent” as well as firsthand insights from No1 CopperPot.

Caroline focused strongly on the importance of breaking down risk into more defined and manageable sub-categories that the board can then analyse based on risk tolerance and appetite statements. Once individual risks are identified and the board understands the realm of the risk, the likelihood and impact, it can accurately consider treatment options. There are bound to be miscalculations and mitigation failures, but Caroline stresses that these are learning points. Risk frameworks should constantly be evolving and adapting to deal with unexpected risks and changing times; there will be no improvements if change is not encouraged. Things don’t change unless things change!

The purpose of The Reflection Series is to provide a practical perspective, like a more formal format of advice from a colleague, for credit union people. Caroline emphasises that “this paper is not intended to provide a textbook”, but it does provide extremely valuable insight from someone who extensively understands the intricacies of the business.

Check out more from the series!

If you have a topic you would like to ‘Reflect’ on in this way, to the benefit of credit unions, please contact Dr Paul A Jones, Director of Research at Swoboda (p.a.jones@ljmu.ac.uk).