On the Implied Wholeness Significance of International Financial Cooperatives and Credit Unions: Research of Insight of the Pre-COVID-19 Potential

On the Implied Wholeness Significance of International Financial Cooperatives and Credit Unions: Research of Insight of the Pre-COVID-19 Potential

Milan B. Vemić (University Union - Nikola Tesla, Serbia)
Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/IJCFA.313041
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The purpose of this paper is to analyze pre-COVID-19 performance indicators of international financial cooperatives and credit unions. By assuming a wholeness approach to cooperative development, new potentialities are suggested without jeopardizing the initial concept of non-financial cooperative entities. Researched is their internationalization and export endeavors based on data collected by the European Association of Cooperative Banks and the World Council of Credit Unions. The author draws conclusions on interconnectedness among financial cooperatives and credit unions with traditional cooperatives. This study suggests that credit unions seem to be more widely represented than international financial cooperatives and that development potential exists in both of them individually and especially in their holistic interconnectedness. Finally, findings of this research also reveal that classic cooperatives could evolve into players that are more powerful by developing their financial and market potential through cooperation with international financial cooperatives and credit unions.
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A financing gap can be overcome through a variety of different instruments, including Seed Capital, government financing in the form of loans or guarantees, or Venture Capital. However, there are limits to the use of these and other useful instruments as a solution to a lack of funding, especially in transition and underdeveloped economies where financial markets are rudimentary and access to finance is a major binding constraint (Dinh, Mavridis, & Nguyen, 2010). At the same time access to finance is a consistently declining problem in economically advanced regions such as the Euro area (European Commission, 2017). If financial markets are poorly developed, entrepreneurs will choose poorly productive but flexible technologies, less risky but with many applications. SMEs will be reluctant to engage in sophisticated technologies as long as they cannot share the risk they incur with financial markets (Didier, Levine, & Schmukler 2015) and cooperatives will also act similarly. Often Seed Capital comes from own resources or from family or friends. Businesses in their early growth that face financing difficulties can access funding from development funds or can obtain loans from banks backed by guarantee funds. This is often for a very limited number of loans and has to gain momentum in some countries. The Venture Capital market is also embryonic in less developed and transition economies such as Zambia (Liyanda, 2017). In later development stages (Cook, 2018; Hind, 1999) credit may also be insufficiently accessible which was rightly recognized by the government of Thailand way back in 1966 when it created the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, the BAAC, as a specialized financial institution to provide loans directly to rural households and cooperatives. The BAAC then exceeded commercial bank loans in the ratio 4 to 1 (Siamwalla et al., 1990, pp. 273-277) the significance of which was explored in a more recent case study of credit unions in Cyprus (Kleanthous, Paton, & Wilson, 2018). Yet, access to finance is only one issue.

Kneiding and Tracey (2009) also highlighted in their work the performance measurement problem that this article sets out to examine and answer. Dogarawa (2012) also emphasized it from the standpoint of capital formation. The suggested analytical problem is: what are the potentialities of improved financing through financial cooperatives and credit unions for both financial and non-financial entities? The article should also be approached as a first step at developing a wholeness theory (Bohm, 1980) of cooperative development, financing and measurement aimed at preventing shocks brought about by pandemics such as Covid-19 (Bora & Kim, 2021). Covid-19 was in fact devastating because it brought about enormous crude oil price shocks (Katsampoxakis, Christopoulos, Kalantonis, & Nastas, 2022), interrupted the business operations of entire countries and closed many economic sectors endangering sustainability of cooperatives and credit unions. As a consequence, large numbers of clients were left without affordable credit or missed repayments which matured. Therefore, the study covers only the year 2019, the last year before the outbreak of Covid-19 which lead to skewed data for 2020 and 2021. Clearly, any sustainable development of credit unions and cooperatives (Kleanthous et al., 2018) requires unbiased pre-Covid-19 measurement. It is argued that the lending group consists of two entities, cooperatives and credit unions, while the borrowing group is broader to include not only businesses but also traditional cooperatives. The article is divided into four sections. Section I presents the background describing the recognized advantages of traditional cooperatives, financial cooperatives and credit unions. Section II shows the potentiality of cooperative capacity in export financing. Section III outlines the research methodology and results of financial cooperatives and credit unions. Section IV suggests a new wholeness model with concluding observations.

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