Chapter 11: Customer-owned businesses – the wider picture
Apart from banking, are there other types of business owned by their customers? Of course there are. They can be found wherever people have needed to organise the supply of some good or service for themselves. Table 11.1 lists the types that have become well established, and in the final row adds in banking to show the similarities with these other sectors. The closest sector to banking is insurance, since many banks offer a range of insurance products and insurance mutuals often also provide savings products; the term ‘bancassurance’ indicates that in some countries the two sectors are beginning to merge. Another closely related sector is agricultural supply, which in the Raiffeisen system in Europe grew up in parallel with the banks. Similarly, consortium cooperatives (sometimes called shared service co-ops) for small business people and retailers grew up in parallel with the supply of credit by the urban Volksbanks. Utility co-ops have sometimes been founded alongside banks supplying credit to farmers. Consumer cooperatives have set up banking departments that sometimes have grown into separate cooperative banks.
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