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Resilience in a Downturn

The Power of Financial Cooperatives

By Johnston Birchall
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This report addresses the historical, statistical, conceptual, and policy aspects of financial cooperatives, focusing on how they fare in times of crisis. Using the general success of cooperatives during the global financial crisis as an example, the report argues that they can provide a credible alternative to the investment-owned banking system. The report reveals that financial cooperatives have continued to provide banking services to people on low incomes, to stabilize the banking system, to regenerate local economies, and, indirectly, to create employment. It explains that cooperatives are able to do this because of their unique combination of member ownership, control, and benefit. It concludes with a set of policy recommendations for governments, development agencies, and other policymakers.

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