largest industrial, worker-owned and run cooperative, Mondragon, founded in the Basque region of Spain over fifty-five
years ago and winner of the 2013 Financial Times “Boldness in Business” award
has agreed through its cooperative bank, Laboral
Kutxa, to partner and build cooperative stakeholder businesses in local
living economies throughout America with the U.S. based National Cooperative Bank headquartered in Washington, D.C.
For the first
time in their respective operating histories, both Mondragon’s Laboral Kutxa and National
Cooperative Bank (NCB) will collaborate to support each other’s banking
customers including subsidiaries of cooperatives operating in the United States
belonging to the Mondragon Group.
Predicated on similar “doing well by doing good” principles, social
responsibility values, and a growing understanding that cooperative markets
extend beyond borders, both entities pledge to support each other’s customers
with regard to charges, payments, financial services, online banking systems,
and other commercial banking practices.
fulfills its singular mandate to strengthen America’s cooperatives, their
members and other socially responsible organizations through the delivery of
social impact banking products and services. NCB's customers are cooperatives such as grocery wholesaler co-ops,
food co-ops, purchasing co-ops, credit unions and housing co-ops who share in
the spirit of joining and working cooperatively to meet personal, social, and
business needs. Headquartered in
Washington, DC, NCB has offices in
Alaska, California, New York, Ohio and Virginia.
Laboral Kutxa of Mondragon, the financial cooperative arm of the
Mondragon Group, is a cooperative
bank fielding 450 branches with over 1,300,000 customers. Mondragon is the world’s largest worker-owned
industrial cooperative but also the top Basque region industrial group, ranked
tenth in Spain with 80,000 personnel, a presence in 70 countries, and expanding
operations across the U.S. and North America.
The NCB-Laboral Kutxa Memorandum of Understanding frames the general terms
and conditions for the cooperation between both parties, based on subjecting
each future transaction to a specific contract with market-driven competitive
performance goals. This partnership
intends to exchange best practices and experiences in social
and solidarity-oriented high impact lending and to support international
initiatives for the accelerated development and promotion of the global
This agreement represents Mondragon’s first international financial
sector agreement but second precedent-setting U.S. collaboration during the
past four years. Announced in late October, 2009, with an extensively researched
structural template provided in March, 2012, North America’s leading
manufacturing union, the United
Steelworkers, and Mondragon International agreed to develop a hybrid union
co-op model that is currently adopted by multiple U.S. unions and underway in
over ten U.S. cities with projects ranging from an organic sustainable farm to
a commercial laundry to energy efficiency. To buttress this initiative, Mondragon
International USA has partnered with the Ohio Employee Ownership Center (OEOC) and The City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law’s Community Economic
Development (CED) Clinic to create reusable union-coop business templates and
communities of practice with the Cincinnati Union Cooperative Initiative
(CUCI) illustrating the leading metropolitan success story to date.
partnership with National Cooperative
Bank through the Mondragon Bank, Laboral
Kutxa, and its union-coop model collaboration with the United Steelworkers reflect the ten basic principles that Mondragon
co-operatives have put into practice during the past fifty-five plus years
(open admission, democratic organization, sovereignty of labor, instrumental
and subordinate nature of capital, participation in management, wage
solidarity, inter-cooperation, and education).
Fully compatible with the UN Principles
for Responsible Investment, the National Cooperative Bank - Laboral Kutxa partnership intends to
promote investments and businesses essential for revitalizing local productive
economies and renewing community prosperity.
In the U.S.
alone, member-owned organizations account for $3 trillion in assets, $500
billion in revenue, and more than one million jobs. Specifically, the United States fields 29,000
cooperatives holding 350 million co-op memberships and consisting of 900 rural
electric coops with 42 million clients in 47 states, two million farmer-members
in 3000 farmer-owned cooperatives who provide over 250 thousand jobs and annual
wages of $8 billion, 250 purchasing coops offering group buying and sharing to
more than 50,000 independent businesses, 7500 credit unions providing financial
services to nearly 90 million members, and circa 8000 housing coops providing
one million homes. Mondragon’s recent
annual sales in North America have reached the $250 million level.
About National Cooperative Bank (NCB
NCB fulfills its singular mandate to
strengthen America’s cooperatives, their members and other socially responsible
organizations through the delivery of social impact banking products and
services. NCB’s customers are
cooperatives such as grocery wholesaler co-ops, food co-ops, purchasing co-ops,
credit unions and housing co-ops who share in the spirit of joining and working
cooperatively to meet personal, social, and business needs. In 2012, NCB provided nearly $1.4 billion in
loans to cooperative and community organizations across the United States of
which $232 million served low-moderate income communities. Headquartered
in Washington, DC, the Bank has offices in Alaska, California, New York, Ohio
and Virginia. Recent transactions
include a $30 million first mortgage to Amalgamated Housing Cooperative in New
York City’s Bronx Borough, the oldest limited equity housing cooperative in the
United States, and a $4.7 million term loan to Wheatsville Food Co-op in
Austin, Texas, with 12,000 consumer-owners.
Chartered by the 95th U.S. Congress in 1978, NCB was
privatized in 1981 as a member-owned financial institution. Since then, NCB has been structured as a financial
cooperative and all capital stock has been owned by borrowers or entities
eligible to borrow from NCB.
Kutxa (www.laboralkutxa.com): Laboral Kutxa, created in 1959
currently fields 450 branches with over 1,300,000 customers whose deposits
($24 billion in 2012) and loans ($20 billion in 2012) contribute to the bank’s
total assets of $31 billion (2012) and $70 million in profits (Q2/2013). Laboral Kutxa is the financial
cooperative arm of the Mondragon Group
(“Humanity At Work” through Cooperation, Participation, Social Responsibility
and Innovation) with 2,235 worker-owners.
Mondragon is the world’s
largest worker-owned industrial cooperative but also the top Basque region
industrial group, ranked tenth in Spain with 80,000 personnel, a presence in 70
countries, and winner of the 2013 Financial Times “Boldness in Business” award.
Mondragon’s more than fifty-five
year old mission is to generate wealth for society through business development
and job creation under the “one worker, one vote” cooperative framework where
labor is sovereign and capital, while essential, is subordinate to sustainable
job creation. As the second largest credit cooperative in both the Basque
region and Spain but ranking first in customer satisfaction and service
quality, Laboral Kutxa is one of the
three founding pillars of the Mondragon
Group’s domestic and global unparalleled growth and success as defined by Mondragon principles. Under
the Mondragon framework, Laboral Kutxa’s workers are partners
and therefore have a share in the ownership and the distribution of profits while
also participating in management and management decisions.”