Over the past 20 years, the increased dominance in banking of the shareholder ownership model, whose main purpose is to maximize financial returns for shareholders, has proved to be a toxic combination with the financial deregulation the sector has undergone, the creation of new financial instruments and the concomitant rising levels of debt. Despite the growing role of private limited-liability banks around the world, co-operative banking still offers a compelling alternative, especially in Europe where the roots of co-operative institutions date back to the nineteenth century.This book studies the characteristics of different co-operative banking models of networks across several European countries to assess their impact on the profitability and resilience of the networks and their co-operative components. To date, empirical studies have neglected to examine the features of the networks to which co-operative banks belong. Surprisingly, there is little evidence on the extent to which the diverse organizational network structures determine differences in the profits and stability of individual banks and their networks across different countries. The principal objective of this book is to fill this gap in the literature. The European countries considered are Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. In these countries, co-operative banks constitute a significant presence although the organizational forms their networks take are quite different. Focusing on this sample of European countries therefore affords insights and reveals policy implications about the role that network organizations play in driving the performances of co-operative banks, which will be of interest to academics, researchers, and students of banking and financial institutions.
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