At a time when many are mourning the death of Queen Elizabeth II, today we remember that it is a year to the day since we lost our friend and mentor Ralph Swoboda.

We think of Ralph daily and talk about him often. At the end of last year we were pleased to discover a little time capsule of his wisdom in this podcast that Ralph recorded in 2020. This year, Ralph has been nominated for the Herb Wegner Memorial Award from the US National Credit Union Foundation, that credit union movement’s highest national honour, celebrating “individuals and programs that put belief into action” since 1989. It would be fitting if Ralph were to be recognised in this way.

Ralph described the founding of our credit union research centre as one of the things he was proudest of in his long and storied career, and we were quietly delighted to be able to rebrand as the Swoboda Research Centre in his memory. Swoboda (as we now call the centre) continues to develop and build its impact on the movement in Ireland and Great Britain through research and events, and we endeavour all the time to meet Ralph’s exacting standards for quality, insightfulness and – always – relevance.

A former colleague recently passed on a quote from Ralph: “A credit union without a philosophy is a pale imitation of a small bank.” A typically astute remark from Ralph to carry us forward into another year of working with Irish and British credit unions to meet the needs of their members and communities.