Thursday, 12 December 2013 14:51

Financial Services

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Beyond credit unions, cooperative banking and cooperative development funds are two categories that fall in the cooperative financial services category.

Cooperative Banking

Cooperative banks are banking institutions that serve the cooperative business community, both for producers and consumers. These institutions meet the financial needs of the cooperative community that traditional financial businesses have not met. Having a financial institution that practiced business in the same manner aids cooperatives in their goal to manage businesses with values.


CoBank is a cooperative whose members are local, regional and national agricultural cooperatives and rural utility systems. CoBank offers a broad range of flexible loan programs and specially tailored financial services.

NCB and its subsidiaries provide a broad array of financial services to the U.S. cooperative movement, spurring economic growth and community development in urban and rural America. Established in 1978 by Congress, NCB was reconstituted as a privately owned cooperative financial institution in 1981.

National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation is a not-for-profit cooperative whose mission is to provide its member utility systems with an assured source of low-cost capital, state-of-the-art financial products and business management services.

Cooperative Development Funds

Cooperative Development Funds started because traditional lenders did not understand the cooperative structure and were unwilling to take a chance that the democratic model of ownership could work. Even today, affordable conventional financing is still hard to find for cooperative start-up businesses. Fund investors typically are cooperatives, socially motivated institutions and individuals who believe in the importance of reinvestment in the community.


Cooperative Development Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that administers funds to promote community, economic and social development through cooperative enterprises. CDF sponsors the 5K Race for Cooperative Development held annually every October in Washington, D.C.

Cooperative Fund of New England offers loans to cooperatives, non-profits and worker-owned businesses in New England and parts of New York.

Northcountry Cooperative Development Fund is a cooperatively owned and operated financial intermediary. It makes loans available to Midwestern cooperatives, thus fostering the development of enterprises owned democratically by producers, workers and consumers.

Local Enterprise Assistance Fund (LEAF) provides flexible financing to worker-owned cooperatives, consumer cooperatives, employee stock ownership plans, and democratically controlled, community-based income generating projects.

National Credit Union Foundation provides assistance for credit unions and their members, including support during disaster recovery.

Nationwide Foundation provides support for community benefit projects, including cooperative development.

Senior Cooperative Foundation supports development of and best practices for senior housing cooperatives with a variety of services, education, and operating programs. These programs are available to resident-members and to new sponsor-developers who are committed to full resident ownership and control.

Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation supports the development of all kinds of cooperatives, with a special expertise in food co-ops. 

Source: National Cooperative Business Association (USA)

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