Co-operative Bank Launches First Development Fund For Co-Operatives In Developing Countries

The Co-operative Bank today (5 June) unveiled an innovative new global co-operative development fund aimed at helping to alleviate poverty in some of the world's poorest communities

Online PR News – 11-June-2009 – – June 2009 - The Co-operative Bank today (5 June) unveiled an innovative new global co-operative development fund aimed at helping to alleviate poverty in some of the world's poorest communities.

The Global Co-operative Development Fund (GCDF) has been created with long-term partner Deutsche Bank and is the first specialised international development fund to specifically target credit unions and agricultural co-operatives that serve some of the world's poorest communities.

It is being initiated at a particularly opportune time with some regions seeing cutbacks in development finance, such as funding for microfinance, following the global downturn.

Participation in this fund supports the Bank's aim to be one of the UK's leading providers of development finance. Since 2005, the UK only bank has been steadily increasing its commitment to international development and poverty alleviation.

Richard Wilcox Head of Structured and Asset Finance at The Co-operative Bank said: “The co-operative business model of operating for the benefit of its members looks set to emerge stronger from the wreck of the global downturn.

“Investing in co-operatives can contribute to the economic development of a country, helping to alleviate poverty and reduce economic vulnerability - while providing a competitive risk-adjusted return.

“We know, via our Ethical Policy mandate, that our customers want us to help play a part in tackling global poverty. By developing the GCDF, we can make funding available to co-operatives that can help bring about significant economic benefits to deprived communities.

The Bank's commitment to the GCDF also aligns with, parent company, the Co-operative Group's overall commitment to step up its support for international development. Moreover, 'Co-operation between co-operatives' is a founding co-operative principle.

The Co-operative Bank will be principal sponsor for the GCDF. It will be managed by Deutsche Bank, while Oikocredit will sub-manage the fund. The fund will be open to investors in the fourth quarter 2009.

Asad Mahmood, Managing Director at Deutsche Bank, said “As a leading social bank, The Co-operative Bank is breaking new ground with sponsoring this important fund that is making fundamental changes at the grassroots level. The collaborative nature of this fund will serve as an important example for other companies to join resources to tackle the challenging issues of development.”

Richard Wilcox added “We are particularly pleased to be working alongside our friends at Deutsche Bank Community Development Group again. They have been active and enthusiastic supporters of the initial co-operative fund concept and their professionalism and experience of the global development markets will be critical to the success of this new fund”


Notes to editors:

About The Co-operative Financial Services (CFS)

Part of The Co-operative Group which is world's largest consumer co-operative with over 3 million members. CFS currently has £39bn (US$59bn) of assets under management across its retail & corporate business and is committed to being a leader in corporate responsibility. CFS remains only UK financial services organisation to have received the prestigious Queen's Award for Sustainable Development. Services include car insurance and home insurance.

The previous microfinance initiatives involving the Co-operative Bank include:

- In 2005, it committed $5million to the Global Commercial Microfinance Consortium (GCMC), an $80m syndicated fund, sponsored and managed by Deutsche Bank Community Development Group Loans from the GCMC have been committed to MFIs across the globe in places such as Russia, Kosovo, Peru, Nicaragua, Colombia, Pakistan, Mozambique, Mongolia and Azerbaijan. The scheme was endorsed by former US President Bill Clinton.

- The Bank committed a further $2million to the Blue Orchard Loans for Development Fund, launched by Morgan Stanley and managed by global microfinance investment manager Blue Orchard Finance SA. The securitised fund comprises of loans to 21 Microfinance Institutions in 13 countries in Latin America, Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa.

- Following the success of the previous two initiatives, The Co-operative Bank has created a special $50m fund in order to support further development of small businesses in some of the world's poorest countries which continues to make investments in selected managed funds.

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