As if one bad-news cooperative banking story isn’t enough for one week, the Financial Times reports today that Rabobank faces a regulatory fine of almost a billion US dollars. Rabobank is a highly successful and well-capitalised Dutch cooperative bank with its roots in the farming sector. The national Rabobank is effectively a secondary cooperative owned by a network of local cooperative banks across the country. “In light of our cooperative mission, Rabobank elects to make the customer’s interest the starting point for its daily activities,” the bank’s website says.
The swingeing fine is for alleged manipulation of the Libor interbank lending rate. In Britain, Barclays and RBS have also been fined for Libor manipulation.
I can’t help thinking that a billion dollars of Rabobank’s capital would have been mighty useful if it could have been invested instead in our own Co-operative Bank.