Editorial: Cooperative Banks at a Turning Point?

Many changes occurred in the last years in the economic and social framework make this question quite actual. This special issue argues that the new reality created by the great financial crisis has fostered cooperative banks’ development —at least at local level—and allowed them to re-establish and even strengthen trust towards the banking system, in a period when this was strongly endangered. The crisis has also proved the soundness of many hypotheses expressed by researchers about cooperative banks’ behavior stemming from their governance, business model and specialization, which heavily rely on relationship-based retail banking. In times of crisis it is important to understand the power of alternative approaches to business in general and of the financial system in particular. As the papers collected in this special issue extensively illustrate, cooperative banks are indeed a different “animal” in the banking “zoo”. It cannot be ignored, however, that the turbulent banking scene has increased regulatory pressure towards the strengthening of equity and profits, while additional risks derive from the imposed stricter regulatory framework and the institutional steps taken toward the introduction of a banking union in the EU. Among these lines, this issue argues that, despite their recent success, cooperative banks are indeed at a turning point and should focus on a deep re-thinking of their general and local strategies, of their daily activity, both with members and customers, and of their loyalty to constitutive social principles.

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Silvio Goglio, Yiorgos Alexopoulos (2013). Editorial: Cooperative Banks at a Turning Point?, Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity, 3(1): 1-8. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5947/jeod.2014.001