Proximity to the customer, responsibility for the region and partnership with small and mid-sized companies – these are the principles on which the 1,021 German local cooperative banks and other institutions and companies of the Cooperative Financial Network base their activities. As independent credit institutions with round about 190,000 staff members and blanket coverage in Germany, the cooperative banks provide more than 30 million customers with financial services.
One unique quality of the cooperative banks is their traditional duty to promote the interests of their around 18 million members. This means that over half of all customers of the cooperative banks are simultaneously shareholders in their banks – with all the accompanying advantages and co-determination rights.
At the end of 2015, the loans granted by the cooperative banks (Volksbanken and Raiffeisenbanken) amounted to a total volume of € 505 billion, while deposits amounted to € 608 billion, of which € 196 billion alone were savings deposits (including savings bonds). Overall, the cumulative balance sheet total of the cooperative banks at the end of 2014 amounted to € 818 billion.
Local banks are supported by numerous product and service providers, who enable even the smallest institutions to offer their customers all financial services from a single source. These include, in addition to the cooperative central banks – DZ BANK AG and WGZ BANK AG – divisional companies such as the building society Schwäbisch Hall AG, R+V Versicherung AG, Union Asset Management Holding AG, Teambank AG and the cooperative mortgage banks Deutsche Genossenschafts-Hypothekenbank AG, Münchener Hypothekenbank eG and WL Bank AG.
Two independent rating agencies have confirmed that the cooperative banking group is not only a first-class, but above all a trustworthy and secure network. Both Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings awarded the Cooperative Services Network and all member banks the premium network rating “AA-“. Thus the agencies have also honoured the protection scheme of the group, operated by the Bundesverband der Deutschen Volksbanken und Raiffeisenbanken (National Association of German Cooperative Banks), which has guaranteed the port-folios of its member institutions for over 80