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'Straight from the Horse's Mouth': An Empirical Exploration of Success in the Irish Credit Union Movement

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It can be suggested that there is major variation between the credit union movements in Ireland and the United Kingdom. This is despite both movements being late starters in international terms (O'Connell 2005). Credit unions in some parts of the world have evolved into highly successful financial providers, offering a huge array of products and services. It can therefore be argued that, in order for the UK's credit union movement to become more significant in the financial market, it needs to compete more effectively with other financial institutions whilst maintaining a hold on its philanthropic ethos. The purpose of this article is to reflect upon empirical work conducted in Ireland on this subject. The central aim of that research was to determine how the UK movement can, as the movement in Ireland has, maintain its values and become viable. The research we conducted appears to suggest that the key to a successful movement is achieving a balance between these seemingly competing interests.
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Keywords: Ireland and the United Kingdom; community ethos; credit unions; education of workers; religion; social exclusion; social responsibility

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Glamorgan, Treforest, South Wales, UK

Publication date: 2008-06-01

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