In a message to the 5th Convention of the European Association of Cooperative banks, UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, highlighted the stabilising role played by co-operative banks during the crisis.
He said: “I am pleased to convey my greetings to the European co-operative banking community as you gather for this convention. We are heartened by the performance of European co-operative banks, which experienced remarkably limited losses. The resilience surely helped to protect the assets and safety nets of many members who might otherwise experienced greater suffering and uncertainty”.
The Secretary-General also said co-operatives are valuable partners in development. He emphasised the role played by co-ops in general in helping to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
“The United Nations commends co-operatives for empowering people, enhancing human dignity and social equity, and making strides to fulfil the Millennium Development Goals."
In his opening speech, Mr Christian Talgorn, President of the EACB said: “It is an honour and a great pleasure to receive you today at a historical place Biblioteque Solvany”.
“For the 5th Convention we are particularly honoured to have received the best wishes of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.”
“This is a recognition of the remarkable people who chaired the EACB before me.”
“Co-operative banks have specific features such as a relevant redistribution of profits, commitment of the real economy-SMEs or local collectivises.”
He added it is essential that future regulations do not have a negative impact on co-op banks.
EU Council President, Herman Van Rompoy said in a video message:
“The 5th Convention of co-ops banks marks the end of IYC, a year that has shown the dynamism of coops year and the fragility of our financial system.”
Mr Van Rompoy said new regulations for financial system aim to make it more resilient, allow avoiding excesses.
He said over the last two months the Council has engaged in the creation of a Single Supervisory Mechanism and a new framework as a first deciding step towards a more stable banking system, ensuring restructure and recapitalisation in all financial institutions.
He added: “Europe needs strong solid and diverse financial institutions. Citizens need to regain trust in financial institutions”. Mr Van Rompoy said co-ops play a key role in making this happen.