Community Banking Partnership: Legal Structures that Work

National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions

Author +
Clifford Rosenthal

Year: 2005

Achieving Financial Inclusion – Lessons from American credit unions and CDFIs for practitioners in Britain

Community Banking Partnerships (CBPs) are being formed across England and Wales to tackle financial exclusion more successfully. Finding effective ways to structure these partnerships is crucial to their success. This report, the second in the CBP series, looks at what lessons can be learnt from the experience of similar group structures in the USA. The next report will highlight how Community Banking Partnerships fit into the current British policy context.

This report is an initial attempt to summarise their experience and draw lessons for other organisations thinking about following in the footsteps of these exemplary institutions. It has been commissioned by the national Community Banking Partnership team here in Britain to seek to learn lessons from the practical and regulatory experience of Amercian community development credit unions (CDCUs) with group structures. In turn these lessons can be utilised to inform the development of similar links between credit unions, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and non-profit service providers as proposed for Community Banking Partnerships in diverse sub-regions of England and Wales.

The report shows that the American CDCU group structures have enabled multiple problems related to financial exclusion to be addressed in effective and positive ways. CDCU group structures have in general functioned smoothly over many years. But obtaining operational unity and coherence among the companies in the group needs a clear focus. 

Download the report

Table of Contents:

  • Executive Summary 
  • Overview 
  • The Origins of Group Structures 
  • Governance and Structural Issues 
  • Operational and Functional Issues 
  • Regulatory and Legal Issues 
  • Conclusions: Lessons Learned
  • Appendix: Case Studies 
  • Endnotes