8. RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
DEFINITION OF CO-OPERATIVE BANKS
A co-operative bank is a financial entity which belongs to its members, who are at the same time the owners and the customers of their bank. Co-operative banks are often created by persons belonging to the same local or professional community or sharing a common interest. Co-operative banks generally provide their members with a wide range of banking and financial services (loans, deposits, banking accounts…). Co-operative banks differ from stockholder banks by their organization, their goals, their values and their governance. In most countries, they are supervised and controlled by banking authorities and have to respect prudential banking regulations, which put them at a level playing field with stockholder banks. Depending on countries, this control and supervision can be implemented directly by state entities or delegated to a co-operative federation or central body. All the cooperative banks share common features :
• Customer-owned entities: In a co-operative bank, the needs of the customers meet the needs of the owners, as co-operative bank members are both. As a consequence, the first aim of a co-operative bank is not to maximise profit but to provide the best possible products and services to its members. Some co-operative banks only operate with their members but most of them also admit non-member clients to benefit from their banking and financial services.
• Democratic member control: Co-operative banks are owned and controlled by their members, who democratically elect the board of directors. Members usually have equal voting rights, according to the co-operative principle of “one person, one vote”.
• Profit allocation: In a co-operative bank, a significant part of the yearly profit, benefits or surplus is usually allocated to constitute reserves. A part of this profit can also be distributed to the co-operative members, with legal or statutory limitations in most cases. Profit is usually allocated to members either through a patronage dividend, which is related to the use of the co-operative’s products and services by each member, or through an interest or a dividend, which is related to the number of shares subscribed by each member.
The Bank was formed in 1872 as the Loan and Deposit Department of Manchester's Co-operative Wholesale Society, becoming the CWS Bank four years later. However, the bank did not become a registered company until 1971. In 1975, the bank became the first new member of the Committee of London Clearing Banks for 40 years, and thus able to issue its own cheques. Since 1974 the Co-operative Bank has consistently offered free banking for personal customers who remain in credit. It was also the first Clearing Bank to offer an interest bearing cheque account called Cheque & Save, in 1982. In 1991 the Bank shook the credit card market when it introduced a guaranteed "free for life" Gold Visa card. The Co-operative banks in INDIA have a history of almost 100 years. The Co-operative banks are an important constituent of the Indian Financial System, judging by the role assigned to them, the expectations they are supposed to fulfil, their number, and the number of offices they operate. The co-operative movement originated in the West, but the importance that such banks have assumed in India is rarely paralleled anywhere else in the world. Their role in rural financing continues to be important even today, and their business in the urban areas also has increased phenomenally in recent years mainly due to the sharp increase in the number of primary co-operative banks. Co operative Banks in India are registered under the Co-operative Societies Act. The cooperative bank is also regulated by the RBI. They are governed by the Banking Regulations Act 1949 and Banking Laws (Co-operative...