Mutuality in the credit business of the banking enterprise: the cooperative credit survey


  • Michele Modina
  • Domenico Curcio
  • Anna Vittoria Formisano


cooperative credit banks, business mode for sustainability, mutuality, credit pricing, stakeholder value


Research frame: Inspired by the stakeholder value model, co-operative credit banks (CCBs) are enterprises that, rather than making a profit the main objective of their actions, aim to generate profits to sustain their business for the benefit of the community (Ayadi et al., 2010).

Purpose of the paper: Based on these considerations, the study aims to investigate the lending behaviour of some Italian cooperative banks to verify whether and to what extent it is consistent with the mutuality and subsidiarity objectives of cooperative credit.

Methodology: The investigation of lending behaviour focused on the examination of pricing policies and was conducted in the form of a case study focalizing on the comparison between the interest rates applied in 2020 by four Italian CCBs active in the same geographical area and the theoretical interest rates, consistent with the risk level of the entrusted counterparties.

Findings: The results show that the pricing adopted by the examined cooperative banks is partially decoupled from the risk content of the loan granted to the counterparty. The application of less favourable conditions to the best borrowers and more favourable conditions to the worst borrowers constitutes a credit pricing system that can be defined as mutual.

Research limits: Like all studies based on an analysis of case studies, the limitations of the research come from the potential lack of representativeness of the phenomena observed, concerning the number of intermediaries, in general, and, in particular, the technical form of lending (current account credit opening), which does not exhaust the types of credit line relationships, and the observation period, which is limited to 2020 only.

Practical implications: The setting of rates on loans to customers is an effective lever that the management of cooperative banks can use, from a strategic point of view, in the context of mutual credit management.

Originality of the paper: By using proprietary data from the examined banks, the work represents the first attempt to understand whether the credit policy of cooperative credit banks, which finds one of its most significant expressions in the setting of lending rates, is consistent with their cooperative nature and with the values of solidarity on which their actions have historically been based.


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