WP 11 | 10 The roots of cooperative credit from a theoretical and historical perspective
Credit is indubitably one of the most important sectors in which the supply of goods and services by cooperatives has arisen. Given the importance of the role of cooperative banks in the development of other sectors and of the territories or communities in which they operate, and the economic and political power that they consequently confer on those who manage them, some of the inherent problems distinctive in general of not-for-profit organizations become critical. In particular: in the case of rapid growth beyond the original group and area, the possibility of maintaining the principles of reciprocity and participation; the role and motivations of the social entrepreneurs acting in the bank; the corporate social responsibility, which, in the case of a bank, is closely connected to how the community’s savings are employed and how investments are selected.
These inherent problems are discussed in the first part of the work from a theoretical point of view; while in the second part the first applications and the debate that accompanied them are analysed, given their importance in determining the features of subsequent experiences.
The paper is available also in Italian: Le radici del credito cooperativo sotto il profilo teorico e storico