Groeneveld H.: European co-operative banks in 2019: a concise assessment, Research Letter European Co-operative Banks, Tilburg University, November 2020

Further Information
On 23rd of November, the EACB organised an online event to announce the launch of a new publication entitled “European co-operative banks in 2019: a concise assessment” by Tilburg University. The publication reviews developments in the overall performance of 18 co-operative banking groups in 13 European countries based on consolidated financial indicators pertaining to 2019. Tilburg University Professor and IRU Presidium Member Mr Hans Groeneveld presented the exciting results.

Report’s highlights:

  • Membership distinguishes co-operative banks from all other banks. Members are users and act as owners of co-operative banks.
  • In 2019, on balance, more than 1.1 customers took the step of becoming members of their co-operative bank. This represents a net increase of 1.3 per cent to 86 million members.
  • Co-operative banks consolidated their average domestic market shares at the record level of 2018. The loan and deposit market share stabilized at 23 and 21.9, respectively. Viewed over a somewhat longer time-period, the market shares of co-operative banks appear to be constantly on the rise.
  • In 2019, co-operative banks recorded the highest loan expansion since 2007 (6.1%). The credit growth of co-operative banks has always exceeded loan growth of all other banks. Since 2011, co-operative banks granted the non-financial private sector 28 per cent additional loans. The credit volume of other banks was just 3 per cent higher than in 2011. Cooperative banks’ deposits increased by 6.4%, while other banks experienced deposit growth of 3.9%.
  • In 2019, the average Tier 1 ratio of co-operative banks remained at exactly the same high level as in 2018: 15.9. This suggests that co-operative banks entered the covid-19 pandemic of 2020 at least with a solid capital buffer.
  • Over the last few years, the average return on equity for co-operative banks has been remarkably stable around 6%.

The research paper can be downloaded here.


Groeneveld H.: Reconciling different truths about isomorphic pressure and distinctive behavior at European cooperative banks: Back to the future with Raiffeisen’s principles. In: Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics. 2020; p. 1–27.

Further Information
This article employs a new approach to address a key question in an expanding literature on European cooperative banks: are they still distinctive and sources of social innovation or did they suffer from organizational isomorphism throughout their history? First, we go back to the time when Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen (1818–1888) formulated his principles for the forerunners of many contemporary cooperative banks. Subsequently, we identify areas where major adaptations to the archetypical model of cooperative banks have taken place or are still taking place today. We integrate a detailed explanation of the backgrounds and motivations of these steps with an analysis of isomorphic consequences and loss of distinctiveness that have allegedly emanated from these adjustments. Against the latter common opinion, we place an equally well‐founded dissenting view and formulate recommendations to stay on or return to the cooperative track. Thus, we reconcile conflicting assessments in scientific publications and present a balanced view on the current peculiarity of cooperative banks, substantiated by up‐to‐date figures. With the economic disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak, we argue that, now more than ever, cooperative banks could demonstrate their solidarity, long‐term orientation and local anchoring—namely bringing Raiffeisen’s principles back to the future.

The article can be downloaded here.


NAFSCOB: Journal of Rural Cooperative Credit and Banking

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