Current Research Programme and Latest Publications

‘The Revolving Credit Opportunity for Credit Unions’, May 2018

Our most recent project – a ‘think / do’ paper on revolving credit as an opportunity for credit unions in Ireland and Great Britain. Revolving lines of credit are a core service of credit unions in other countries, notably Australia, Canada and the USA. This paper identifies the operational, regulatory, risk and other factors that are unique to revolving credit and suggests practical steps for dealing with them.

Our primary conclusion: revolving credit has the potential to largely replace the current practice of top-up lending, with far greater convenience to members and at lower administrative expense to the credit union.

The report has been circulated to members of the Centre, and will be publicly available from 1 June, via download from this site.

‘The Irish Credit Union Business Model: Is it still fit for purpose?’ November 2017

Our previous – and first – publication was a review of the business model for credit unions in Ireland, and the case for change.

The key messages are that: the objective evidence demonstrates the case for change to the existing business model, international examples show an expansion of the proposition to members is a successful model, and that collaboration within the sector will be required to build the necessary capability. But first, we need a shared vision of the future, and an appetite for change.

It is available for download here, or click on the image of the report.

We welcome feedback and comment on all our research; contact us here.

We have developed a research programme for 2018 in consultation with our members. Projects include:

  • International experience of mortgage provision by credit unions (due June 2018)
  • A study of credit union member and non-member attitudes to borrowing (due June 2018)
  • International experience in the development of central finance facilities for credit unions (due July 2018)
  • An analysis of credit unions’ role in the community, and a methodology for measurement of community and social impact, in partnership with Small Change, experts in social investment and social finance (due autumn 2018)
  • Financial literacy and governance for social inclusion, in partnership with Romanian and Italian co-operatives and credit unions, a two year, EU-funded programme (November 2017-November 2019)

Previous Publications

The directors, through their other institutions, have previously collaborated on several important projects, most recently an exploration of best practice in governance for credit unions and a study of credit union experience of GB’s Credit Union Expansion Project, which are available to download below. Some further report examples, published by Liverpool John Moores University, are also shown; contact us if you would like a copy of any of these reports.

Research approach

We aim to publish academically rigorous research papers and other outputs that will be of practical and actionable help to the Centre’s stakeholders, for them to identify and adopt new services, better engage their communities, improve their business practices, protect their values, mitigate the risks they face, and facilitate their collaboration for the common good.

We wish to be a thought leader in our field.

We collaborate with Members and other stakeholders to the greatest extent possible, to ensure that ideas and concepts are tested and proven.

We have a Research Advisory Board to support the Centre with its research methodology, standards and quality, and oversee peer review of publications.

We make our research available first to our members, and then to the public.


Our subjects include co-operatives and mutuals (such as credit unions), social enterprises (such as the UK’s community finance development insitutions) and co-operative banks and building societies, as well as social businesses in other sectors that engage with community finance (such as housing associations seeking affordable credit to residents). The Centre’s current focus is Ireland and the United Kingdom, but in due course we will undertake research across Europe. In all cases, our work is informed by experience and knowledge from around the world.



We engage academic, professional and practitioner experts who are recognised for their expertise, integrity and quality of work in Centre-relevant areas. The Centre has a special, collaborative relationship with the Research Unit for Financial Inclusion at Liverpool John Moores University. Certain research papers and publications will be published in collaboration with the University.



We select research projects in consultation with our members, funded by subscription and / or external grants, and seek to engage and work with similar organisations throughout Europe and internationally. We are happy to discuss projects brought to us by interested third parties such as academics, consultants or sector agencies.  Please contact us if you wish to discuss a research project partnership.