Cooperative banks: Relevance, role, potential and problems

Research Area: Economic theory
Scientific coordinator: Silvio Goglio
Project Manager: Riccardo Bodini

Project status: on-going


The current financial crisis has opened up new scenarios for the cooperative banking system – a system which on the one hand has intensified its support for businesses, while on the other has run up against the limits of its governance model.

This research project on cooperative banks intends to analyse these aspects in both an international and Italian context, investigating the sector’s trends and the conditions of its sustainability, in light also of recent developments to the European regulations (Basel III, banking unification, etc.). Additionally, the analysis will explore the impact of cooperative banking on economic development at a local level.


The research focuses on bank risk analysis, taking into account bith the legal form of banks and their crosscutting features, such as locality, cooperative ownership or joining a banking group.

The research group’s objectives can be collected in three research proposals:

1.      (Leader: M. Stefancic) The aim of the research is to compare the various banking groups to verify whether a common idea of democracy can be found. The groups of banks to be compared included CCBs, Large Popular Banks and Smaller Banks. The analysis takes into account the evolution during the crisis;

2.      (Leader: I. Catturani) The co-operative banks’ administrator is at the center of the analysis to check whether there are networks of power that link cooperative companies and for profit enterprises. Trentino is an example to analyze the density of the network of administrators that gravitate around cooperative and for-profit firms. The results will then be the basis for comparison with other realities;

3.       (Leader: I. Catturani) Through the content analysis tool, this study aims to analyze messages sent to their stakeholders by both cooperative and commercial banks.

Main results

The project will continue with the work that has been carried out since 2009, focusing on the role of cooperative finance for sustainable development. The analysis of the governance issues of the BCCs and the consequences of the various forms of governance on local development as well as the analysis of the role played by credit unions in supporting enterprises during the crisis has been further analyzed.

The most recent researches have shown how the risk of insolvency is higher for larger banks and for those with a low level of efficiency, regardless their corporate forms. It also emerged that heterogeneity, understood as presence in the same area of various banks, leads to greater stability of banking institutions.

The research group participated in many international events to present and disseminate the results of the research activities and organized special sessions dedicated to cooperative banking at various conferences and seminars on credit issues.

The working group continued to further reinforce its already-consolidated international partnerships through the organization of the annual international workshop on “Cooperative banking and sustainable development”, now in 2017 its eight edition, intended to serve as a permanent discussion forum for the leading scholars in the sector, and through the publication of the most important contributions.


Recent publications:

Goglio, S., Catturani, I. (2016). La Governance delle Banche di Credito Cooperativo, ECRA, Roma.

Goglio, S., Kalmi, P. (2017). Credit Unions and Co-operative Banks across the World, in: “The Oxford Handbook of Mutual, Co-operative, and Co-owned Business”, Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2017, p. 145-157. – ISBN: 978-0-19-968497-7

Catturani, I., Kalmi, P. and Stefani, M. L. (2016), Social Capital and Credit Cooperative Banks. Economic Notes. doi: 10.1111/ecno.12058

Catturani, I., Stefani, M.L. (2016). Italian Credit Cooperative Banks, in Credit Cooperative Institutions in European Countries, edited by Karafolas, S., Springer, Swiss.

Stefancic, M. (2016) “Toskanska banka Monte dei Paschi iz Siene najsibkejsi clen italijanskega bancnega sistema”, Pravna praksa (rivista slovena di legge),

Goglio, S., Catturani, I. (2016). La governance delle BCC: problemi e soluzioni istituzionali. Cooperazione di Credito 218-219:161-189.

Older publications:

Alexopoulos, Y. Goglio, S., (2009), “Financial Deregulation and Economic Distress: is there a Future for Financial Cooperatives?”, Euricse Working Paper 001|09.

Alexopoulos, Y, Goglio, S., (2011), “Financial Cooperatives: Problems and Challenges in the Post-Crisis Era” in Journal of Rural Cooperation, v. vol. 39, n. n. 1  p. 34-47.

Goglio, S., (2012), Banche di credito cooperativo e sviluppo locale, Roma: Ecra.

Goglio, S., Alexopoulos, Y., (a cura di), (2012), Financial cooperatives and local development, Routledge.

Goglio, S., Leonardi, A.,  (2012),  “The Motivations of Economic Behavior: the Case of Cooperative Credit“, Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity JEOD, 1(1): 65-84.

Abate G. T., Borzaga C. and Getnet K. (2013), “Financial sustainability and outreach of microfinance institutions in Ethiopia: does organizational form matter?”, Euricse Working Paper 56|13. Disponibile online su SSRN al link.

Borzaga C., Catturani I. (2013), “Il legame tra le cooperative di credito e le imprese italiane”, in Secondo Rapporto Euricse sulla cooperazione in Italia: La cooperazione italiana negli anni della crisi, Edizioni Euricse.

Catturani I., Stefani M.L. (2013), “Il credito cooperativo” in: gli aspetti occupazionali” in Secondo Rapporto Euricse sulla cooperazione in Italia: La cooperazione italiana negli anni della crisi, Edizioni Euricse.

Abate, G. T., Borzaga, C., Getnet, K., (2014) “Cost Efficiency and Outreach of Microfinance Institutions in Ethiopia: Do They Contrast with Financial Cooperatives?”, Euricse Working Paper 65 | 14.

Arnone M. (2014), “Il microcredito nel Mezzogiorno d’Italia: il contributo delle banche di credito cooperativo”, in Atti del Convegno “Regioni e Sistema Creditizio” organizzato dall’ISSIRFA-CNR, 2 dicembre, Roma.

Arnone M., Forgione F., “Le BCC e la crisi internazionale: un’analisi comparata per macro regioni”, Banche e Banchieri n. 2/2014.

Catturani I., Venkatachalam R., (2014), “Optimal Interest Rates in Cooperative Banks with Non-member Customers“, Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity JEOD, 3(1): 181-199.

Catturani, I., Borzaga, C., (2014), “Facts and Stereotypes about Cooperative Banks: To Whom Do CBs Actually Lend?“, Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity JEOD, 3(2): 7-3.

Goglio, S., Alexopoulos, Y., (2014), “Special Issue on Cooperative Banks”, Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity JEOD, 3(1).

Goglio S., Alexopoulos Y. (2014) “Editorial: Cooperative Banks at a Turning Point?“, Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity JEOD, 3(1): 1-8.

L’evoluzione del credito cooperativo tra il 2012 e il 2014

Il credito cooperativo negli anni della crisi: un’analisi territoriale

Cooperative di credito e imprese italiane nella seconda fase della crisi


University of Trento



University of Potsdam


University LUMSA

Vaasa University

cooperativescreditfinancial instruments

People involved