“The co-operative banks business model : an asset for a more sustainable and inclusive growth” organised by EACB

Thursday, 25 April

In the framework of the Co-operative Week and the International Year of Co-operatives, on 25 April 2012 the European Association of Co-operative Banks has organized its first dialogue with academics and stakeholders at the European Parliament in Brussels. Top researchers from renowned institutes and universities of various European countries presented their findings and discussed the contributions of co-operative banks to diversity, stability and a sustainable local development.

At this occasion, Mr. Piet Moerland, EACB President, declared : “Owned and controlled by their 50 million members, the 4.000 co-operative banks in Europe are crucial to finance local communities with a long-term and proximity approach. They are an inspiration and can be model for a more inclusive and sustainable growth in this challenging time. However, the new legislation in discussion at the European Parliament do not take enough into consideration the specificities of the co-operative bank business models and their key role as credit providers to SMEs and households.

The importance of co-operative banks and their role to achieve a social and solidarity based economy were also highlighted by Mr. Giegold in his presentation of the European Greens Programme: ways out of the crises. “Co-operative banks contribute significantly to vibrant local economies and to increase access to finance in remote areas. They demonstrated crisis resilient compared to other banking models. In short they are an asset for Europe and banking regulation should take into account their specific structure and governance to ensure that they are not hindered by regulation aimed and designed for commercial banks. If co-operative banks were to adapt to the functioning of commercial banks in order to remain viable, this would imply very high social and systemic costs for Europe.

The international academic community has also launched an initiative yesterday with an appeal signed by more than 100 professors, including prestigious names like Romano Prodi (former Italy’s Prime Minister and Professor of Economics) to draw the attention of top EU decision makers to the importance of co-operative banks for future growth in Europe. “This initiative reveals the need of a shift in mindset and the full recognition of the importance of the co-operative banks model”, commented Herve’ Guider, EACB General Manager.

The United Nations report1 proclaiming 2012 the International Year of Co-operatives also highlighted the crucial role of co-operative banks in financing local and inclusive growth and the need to ensure policy measures that are conducive to co-operatives. 

For further information

Elisa Bevilacqua, Senior Adviser for Research and Communication, [email protected]

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