A very proud man after 4 years of academic hard graft!

An even prouder fiancee and  family, who were a constant source of unconditional support throughout my PhD journey.

Peter Gregson seals the deal with a handshake.  Spot the proud supervisor (Professor Donal McKillop) who was a key component of my PhD success.

My PhD

Performance of Irish credit unions (2002-2010)

On 21/12/2012 i successfully defended my PhD dissertation and graduated in July 2013.

My thesis is an exposition of the strengths and fragilities of the Irish credit union movement focusing on relative performance and ICT technology adoption.

To date Irish credit unions have evolved to a transitional stage of development and still embody a strong cooperative ethos with optimal membership value at its core. The evolution of the Irish credit union industry has stalled as the economic fallout from the Irish banking crisis has highlighted poor operating practices and their development as an industry has stagnated.

In Ireland regulatory inadequacies have exacerbated poor investment decisions and loan book mismanagement in credit unions.  This has resulted in an escalation in loan arrears and losses in both investments and bad debt.  Stagnation can also be partly attributed to the failure to create a common ICT platform, resulting in individual credit unions pursuing incompatible ICT solutions.

The recent the recent report from the Commission on Credit Unions  provided Irish credit unions with a set of responses to these fragilities, two of which, sector restructuring and shared services through ICT adoption, are the themes of this thesis.

The empirical analysis uses a novel panel dataset for the period 2002-2010 to firstly identify the sector’s strengths and weakness by measuring a credit unions performance relative to some best practice’ idea. Then using unique survey data, the diffusion of ICT technology, in the form of a website to provide information and services, is investigated to identify the determinants of adoption and its effects on a credit unions cost and performance over the period.

This work contributes to the literature as one of the first studies to dynamically assess Irish credit unions relative performance, and the first to assess ICT technology adoption within the sector.  It adds to the body of evidence on the resilience of the cooperative banking model in financial service provision.

It informs policy through a systemic approach to sector performance which specifically accounts for factors embodied in current policy considerations; poor asset quality, sectorial restructuring, best practice anchor’ credit unions, and the efficacy of ICT adoption.

The methods and results are summarised in these prezi.

Click here for a copy of my full dissertation.