The co-op movement has been getting a lot of mainstream press lately...mostly bad. The bankruptcy of Fagor Electrodomestics in Spain and the near-failure of the Cooperative Bank in the UK have made front-page news, but the focus on these two outliers is obscuring the fact that cooperative businesses have proven exceptionally stable and resilient throughout the on-going economic crisis. This post by Rochdale of the Breathing Lessons blog provides some much-needed perspective:
Since 2008, there have been 465 bank failures in the United States alone. 25 of these have been in excess of $3 Billion (1.8 billion pounds sterling). I have not been able to find a number for the United Kingdom. In that same time period, not one Credit Union or Cooperative Development Fund has failed (that I know about). It is the profit-driven investor owned financial institutions that collapsed, not the saver-owned cooperative institutions. Technically, the Cooperative Bank hasn't really failed, but the crisis did cause it to transition to an investor owned [bank] (70% ownership). Ironically, the Cooperative Bank seems more likely to fail precisly because it became an investor owned bank to settle its debt and must now achieve the level of profit required by the new owners regardless of its actual mission to the community. The collapse of the Cooperative Bank doesn't even come close to the Top 25 bank failures and doesn't even break the top 30 of US bank failures since 2008.
Click the link above to read the rest of the post.