Credit unions are membership-based cooperative financial services organizations that are run by and for their members. Historically, credit unions provided financial services for their members and encouraged community development through philanthropy and volunteering. The World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), the sector’s global trade association and development agency, encourages the adoption of a management model, coined “new model,” which encourages for-profit financial management practices. The “new model” approach is challenged by some practitioners and academics concerned that it will diminish the community involvement of credit unions. We explore the following research question: “Does the implementation of a management model that promotes for-profit-style financial management crowd out the community impact of credit unions?” We use a dataset extracted from 2,275 annual returns for 188 credit unions spanning 1996-2008, and find no evidence that community impact diminishes as a result of “new model” operating practices, suggesting a crowding-out effect is absent.
- credit union
- Management models
- membership mutual benefit association