Previously The Centre for Community Finance Europe (CFCFE) launched in 2017, the Centre changed its name in memory of its co-founder, first chair and driving force - Ralph Swoboda.
The Centre’s focus is on the practical realities of delivering financial services such as loans, savings and insurance on an ethical and socially beneficial basis to individuals and micro- to medium-sized enterprises. Our research addresses strategic and tactical/operational issues of sustainability, such as corporate governance, business strategy, product/service development and risk management.
The Centre undertakes research across Europe, informed by experience and knowledge from around the world, but aimed at local solutions.
The Centre also offers training and advisory services, delivering actionable guidance to organisations, practitioners and national and local government policymakers.
Small Loans: credit unions best kept secret? An analysis of the economics and opportunity for credit unions serving the small loans market in Ireland.
Authors, Dr Paul A. Jones and Nick Money of Swoboda and Lorraine Corcoran of Afanite, conclude that small loans present a conundrum. On the one hand, they are valued and availed of by a significant proportion of members. On the other, they generate minimal income and can be costly to manage, administer and control. Cross-subsidisation of these loans mean that some members cover the costs of other members. How does this balance with the principle in Irish credit unions of solidarity? Small loans are loved, but they are not actively promoted. Credit unions could do more, but is this affordable? If not, who misses out? The issues of price, efficiency and member service are at the heart of this dilemma.
This paper is part of Swoboda's Reflections series, which provides a platform for practitioners to share their experience, insights, and ideas with the credit union movement and its stakeholders.
In this paper, Jonathan Moore - ex-CEO of Stockport Credit Union - considers the challenging environment that credit unions are facing and the impact on credit unions' members.