Abstract The Irish Credit Union Movement has achieved remarkable success since it was first established fifty years ago. However fears are increasingly emerging that Irish credit unions may now be facing decline with a changing Ireland beginning to pass them by. There is an urgent need for credit unions to modernise their operations in other for them to survive. The Credit Union Development Association (2006) has made a timely call for action proposing that all of the basic elements of the Irish credit union business model now be revisited. The purpose of this study is to examine the current business model of Irish credit unions, and to identify the ways in which it may need to be renewed so that the Movement might continue to progress in light of its changing social, economic and political environment. The study also investigates the capacity and propensity of Irish credit unions to implement any necessary changes to their business model. A qualitative methodology was employed in achieving this study’s research objectives. Seven semi-structured interviews were carried out with key individual stakeholders of the Irish Credit Union Movement. Semi-structured interviews allow for an in depth understanding of a situation or phenomenon. This method was therefore deemed the most suitable due to the exploratory nature of the research objectives. A particular focus was placed on Waterford Credit Union (WCU) as an exemplar of the larger and more progressive credit unions of Ireland and therefore three of the interviewees selected had a direct connection with WCU. A number of significant findings have emerged from the primary research. The interviewees revealed that a number of key business model changes are required in order for Irish credit unions to continue to grow and develop. The main changes proposed include diversified product offerings, I.T. infrastructure and distribution channel development and rationalisation of The Movement. The participants haveindicated that Irish credit unions are capable of making these changes with a loyal membership base, good reserves and an excellent reputation found to be its greatest assets that will assist it during the change process.
|Publication status||Unpublished - 2008|
- Credit Unions, Business Model, Strategy