Cooperation Nation

Governance models from outside the credit union system, and outside the country, can influence stateside principles and practices.

Governance models from outside the credit union system, and outside the country, can influence stateside principles and practices.


Bank Holding Companies

Bank holding companies (BHC) are corporations that own more than 25% of the stock in one or more insured depositories, allowing them to control management, policy, and the election of directors as well as partake in additional bank and nonbank activities.

BHCs can be public or privately held. Shareholders can include individuals, partnerships, corporations, LLCs, and government bodies.

84% of commercial banks in the U.S. are also part of a BHC.

BHCs can raise capital in other ways than through common stock, including trust preferred securities. They can also make limited investments in nonbanking companies and assume shareholder debt without taxation.

Any charter type can become a BHC, but state member institutions are preferred as this limits overall regulatory oversight to the Federal Reserve Board and in some cases The Security and Exchange Commission.


Desjardins Group

This cooperative organization provides financial services while supporting a subsidiary network of 20-plus securities, venture capital, insurance, financial security, and asset management groups.

With 2,650 ATMs and 1,375 points of service, it is the sixth largest deposit-taking financial institution in Canada.

Desjardins Group has six million members and clients, primarily in Ontario and other French-speaking communities.

The Desjardins Group doesn’t have branches, is has caisses, which operate as regional service centers and touch points for member owners.



This cooperative financial system draws its roots from early agriculture communities but now offers worldwide rural and retail banking as well as a larger array of services through subsidiary organizations.

It has 1.9 million members and 19 million clients worldwide.

It currently operates in 44 countries including the U.S.

Shares are not publicly traded. Clients have the option to become members/investors in one of 139 local Rabobanks and, in turn, are members and shareholders of the Rabobank Nederland Corporation.

Rabobank Nederland is co-managed by an executive board for daily management and policy development and by a supervisory board for compliance, risk, appeals, and cooperative issues such as executive selection.


Credit Union Services Corporation Limited

Credit Union Services Corporation Limited (CUSCAL) is a holding company that also provides centralized treasury and liquidity, cash supply, payment and third-party support and settlements, technology services, and much more to some of australia 200-plus cooperative credit unions.

CUSCAL features a two-tiered governance structure with a board of directors and membership council.

Membership is optional, and services can be purchased regardless.

Primary membership includes annual dues. Members must buy a set amount of shares, up to $60,000, according to their asset size.

Commercial members pay dues and also must buy a larger percentage of shares in secondary capital, mainly to acquire and develop new member services.

Both memberships grant equal say in membership council election, but commercial members have more in fluence in board elections.

May 28, 2014

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