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Credit Union Pioneer Ralph Swoboda Passes Away

The Board, staff and members of ABCUL are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Ralph Swoboda.

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Tuesday 23 January 2024

The Board, staff and members of ABCUL are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Ralph Swoboda.

An Attorney by training, Ralph had 47 years experience in the USA and international credit union sector, having served as President/CEO of Credit Union National Association (the primary US 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, at that time serving credit unions in nearly 30 countries.

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).

“On behalf of everyone involved with ABCUL we extend our sympathies and condolences to the family of Ralph Swoboda. Ralph’s arrival to Britain from America was pivotal to the growth of our movement and his role lobbying the Government for credit unions to grow is still critical to our success today,” says ABCUL Chief Executive, Robert Kelly. “Ralph’s dedication to improving the credit union sector up and down the country was second to none and the impact he made as Chairman of the Management Committee at ABCUL will not be forgotten.

“He was not only a true visionary for credit unions in this country but also inspired and achieved change across the global credit union family.”

Dr Paul A Jones and Nick Money, co-founders with Ralph of the Centre for Community Finance Europe (CFCFE) commented: “We are very sad to announce to the members and friends of the Centre for Community Finance Europe, and of the credit union movement across the world, that our friend and colleague Ralph Swoboda passed away at home in Dublin in the early hours of Monday morning, 13th September.

“The progress of CFCFE under his leadership since he founded the organisation with us in 2017 was something of which he was personally very proud, and we thank you all for your support for the Centre since its launch. We will miss Ralph terribly but fully intend that CFCFE will continue, as just one of his many legacies.”


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