GDPR Readiness and Implementation and the

Credit Union Business Model – Where to Next

Welcome to our Leadership Executive Briefing for 2018

This year has all the ingredients needed to be a seminal year for Irish Credit Unions. Trust in the sector is at an all-time high, continued investment in skills and great talent has resulted in a committed and motivated support base, and increased interest in collaboration and growth, all lead to a Credit Union sector willing and able to serve members better.

To get the year off to a flying start, our conference on GDPR Readiness and Business Model Enhancements deal with the two big parts of the governance model; conformance with GDPR, and performance, where to next with the Credit Union Business Model.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions on the subjects covered.

We’ll continue our series of Leadership Executive Briefings as the year progresses.

Thank You


Paul Walsh CEO

Paul joined CUNA Mutual in 2007, and has led the European operation through its transformation from a Life insurance specialist supporting Credit Mutuals to a full service protection partner for Credit Mutuals. CUNA Mutual is now one of the fastest growing insurers in the mutual area and has broadened its footprint across the Ireland and the UK to include Credit Unions, Building Societies and the mutual insurance and distribution sector. Paul has distinguished CUNA through its strong reputation for excellence in product innovation and customer service, and under his leadership it has emerged as one of the leading values based, ethical and inclusive insurers in the market today.


Brendan Keenan


Brendan Keenan is regarded as one of the most respected economic commentators in Ireland. He was born in Belfast and educated at St McNissis College in County Antrim and Queens University, Belfast. He joined the Belfast Telegraph in 1969 as a junior reporter and throughout the period of the early years of The Troubles , he reported on the violence and trials which took place.
In 1973 he was appointed Deputy Political Correspondent at the Belfast Telegraph where he covered the original inquiry into Bloody Sunday headed by the English Lord Chief Justice, Lord Widgery, the Ulster workers strike and the fall of the power-sharing Executive.
In 1976 he became a reporter and presenter for RTE News Features where he conducted interviews on the News at One-Thirty and This Week before being appointed Economics correspondent in 1981.


In 1983 he joined the Financial Times as Ireland Correspondent. As well as covering the continuing economic crisis of the period, this role also took in the turbulent politics of the time in the Republic and coverage of Northern Ireland, with the various political initiatives taking place.
In 1986 he became Business Editor of the Irish Independent where he was responsible for the production of the business pages of the newspaper and introduced the Thursday business supplement. He was Economics Editor from 1992-2012 and now writes a weekly economics column



9.15 -9.30                Registration - Teas and Coffees

9.30-9.40                 Introduction – Paul J Walsh, CEO CUNA Mutual

     M.C.: Brendan Keenan, INM

9.40-10.15               GDPR – Readiness and Preparation – Overview of governance framework for managing GDPR

     Readiness. Bernard Cogan, CUNA Mutual

10.15-10.45             Panel Discussion and Q&A

                                Panel Contributors;

                                Elaine Larke, CUDA

     Daryl Bridgeman, CHUBB

     Bernard Cogan, CUNA Mutual


10.45                       Break –Teas and Coffees


11.00 -11.30           The Irish Credit Union Business Model - Ralph Swoboda, The Centre for Community Finance Europe and

                               Paul A Jones, Liverpool John Moores University

11.30 -12.15           Panel Discussion and Q&A

                               Panel Contributors;

    Paul A Jones, Liverpool John Moores University

    Claire Byrne, St Raphael’s Credit Union          

    Kevin Johnson, CUDA

    Michael Byrne, CORE CU

    Ralph Swoboda, The Centre for Community Finance Europe


12.15                      Teas Coffees and Sandwiches



Bernard Cogan, CUNA Mutual

Bernard has been with CUNA Mutual since 2008 and is currently Client Services Director servicing our Credit Unions across the U.K. Before joining CUNA Mutual Bernard was with Barclays Retail Bank and for a time with Barclaycard. Bernard started his career in the insurance industry before moving to banking mainly specialized in business development roles, designing and executing business plans and delivering training and education programs for both banking and insurance professionals. He recently qualified as a DPO to support CUNA’s on their GDPR journey.

Ralph Swobada, CUFA

RALPH SWOBODA is the Managing Director of CUFA Ltd., the Dublin-based provider of financial analytics software to credit unions and other mutual financial firms. An attorney by training, he has over forty years of experience in the USA and international credit union sector, having served as President/CEO of Credit Union National Association (the primary U.S. credit union trade body), as Chairman of the Management Committee of the Association of British Credit Unions, Ltd. (ABCUL), and later as head of International Operations for CUNA Mutual Group.


After leaving CUNA Mutual in 2005, Ralph co-founded CUFA Ltd. and has provided consulting and executive-level project management services to credit unions and credit union organisations in the USA, UK, Ireland, Australia and China and to the World Council of Credit Unions. Over the years, Ralph has also served as a director of numerous credit union and co-operative organisations in America and internationally, including CARE USA, US Central Credit Union, and the Filene Research Institute (of which he was one of the founders).

Paul A. Jones, CUFA

PAUL A. JONES is Reader in the Social Economy at Liverpool John Moores University, where he heads up the Research Unit for Financial Inclusion. He is also visiting lecturer in the social economy at the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague. Paul has over twenty-five years’ experience in academic, action and evaluative research in credit union organisational development, financial services for lower and moderate-income households, and money and debt advice services. 


The subjects of Paul’s research studies have included widening access to community finance in London, credit union strengthening in the UK and Romania, credit union governance (for the UK Government), access to affordable credit in Europe (for the European Commission), and credit union engagement with prisons (for the UK Ministry of Justice). Paul is also a frequent speaker at international credit union and co-operative events throughout Europe. He was the Editor of the Journal of Co-operative Studies from 2006 to 2015, and is currently its Deputy Editor.


Elaine Larke, CUDA
Elaine Larke is Head of Legal and Compliance with CUDA and concentrates on areas of regulatory compliance and representation. Prior to joining CUDA in 2012, Elaine, a qualified solicitor, worked as a general practitioner in private practice (specialising in finance law, debt recovery and contract law) and in the financial service sector (mortgage division). Conferred by the Law Society of Ireland in 2004, amongst Elaine’s other achievements, qualifications include LLB(Hons) Law Degree and diplomas in Compliance Management and in Finance Law. Elaine is currently undertaking a Masters Programme in Advanced Legal Practice (LLM) with the Law Society of Ireland.

Daryl Bridgeman, CHUBB

Daryl Bridgeman is a Senior Financial Lines Underwriter with Chubb, the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurer with offices in 54 countries. Daryl joined Chubb in 2011 as part of the Financial Lines team based in Dublin. His core areas of expertise include Directors and Officers, Professional Indemnity, Crime and Cyber Insurance with Financial Institutions being a key area. He has been underwriting Cyber Liability Insurance for Chubb since 2015 and launched the Chubb Cyber ERM product in the Irish market in 2016. Throughout this time, he has worked with a wide array of companies to agree Cyber Liability Insurance solutions appropriate to their business. Daryl holds a Bachelor of Business Studies (BBS) from University of Limerick and a Postgraduate Certificate in International Banking and Finance from Dublin Business School.

Claire Byrne, St Raphael’s Garda Credit Union

Claire Byrne is CEO of St Raphael’s Garda Credit Union since 2010.  With over 36000 members and assets > €400m, it is Ireland’s largest credit union. She has lead the business on a transformational change programme that has included managing the transition to a new regulatory environment, restructure and realignment of roles and responsibilities and strengthening the governance framework of the organisation.  Prior to joining the credit union, she spent many years working in the financial services sector and operating at a senior level, she has extensive experience in change management, driving business growth and strategic planning.  Claire holds a post graduate Diploma in Corporate Governance from UCD Smurfit Business School and a first class honours BBS and MBA, both from DCU.   She was appointed to the Credit Union Advisory Committee in December 2017.

Kevin Johnson, CUDA

Kevin is CEO at the Credit Union Development Association [CUDA]. He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and is a Fellow of the Sales Institute of Ireland and a Fellow of the Bankers Institute of Ireland. He brings an extensive background in developing and delivering innovative services and products driven by a real understanding of Members’ needs and what they value. He was a Board member of ReBo, and was an active participant with the Commission on Credit Unions.  He has over 30 years experience in the financial services industry in Ireland and brings an extensive background in evolving business models, Credit Union representation services, has designed many training and education credit union programmes and assists credit unions, individually and collectively, with the development of their strategies most recently through the collaborative initiatives of the Solution Centre.

Michael Byrne, CORE Credit Union

Michael Byrne is CEO of Core Credit Union and is passionate about delivering a full range of ethical financial services to all credit union members.

Michael studied at DIT and DBS where he qualified as an accountant. At 23 Michael was made partner in a medium sized audit firm – primarily because of his IT skills!! In his 15 years working as an accountant he gained a wide range of experience but it was the work with credit unions which gave him the most satisfaction and ultimately led to him seeking a career within the industry.

Known for his troubleshooting and problem-solving skills Michael attributes these to growing up on a farm in Wexford. He his married with two teenage children and is looking forward to getting his life back very soon.



GDPR Presentation January 2018

CFCFE - Irish CU Business Models - Nov 2017

CFCFE - CMG Seminar 15 Jan 2018 - Presentation