Blog: Credit Unions & Financial Cooperatives

Strengthening Communities through the Power of Cooperation: National Cooperative Bank

September 7, 2017

The National Cooperative Bank (NCB) provides banking products and services to cooperatives and other member-owned organizations throughout the United States. Chartered by Congress in 1978 and privatized in 1981 as a cooperatively-owned financial institution, NCB helps people who have joined together cooperatively, to meet their financial needs. NCB especially serves low income communities. Its mandate is rather unusual; instead of pursuing large profit margins, NCB supports the communities and cooperative initiatives that are of most need. With this unique focus, NCB works with cooperatives around the country to ensure their success, help generate local business, bolster strong communities, and ultimately build a better world.

NCB advocates for co-ops and helps them grow. In 2015 alone, NCB made loans and investments totaling $290 million to help low and moderate income families and communities. These initiatives helped communities build wealth, fueled local ownership of small businesses, gave residents access to healthy food, expanded renewable energy sources, and provided affordable housing options. As a member-owned cooperative organization, NBC returned $5 million in patronage refunds to 1,874 co-op members in 2015. Its endeavors showcase the power of cooperatives in building sustainable communities, locally-owned businesses, and a better world.

What does NCB’s financial support look like in action? These people’s experiences have led to some great answers:

  • “You are making a positive difference in the community that you live in – literally! – in the sense that you are supporting farmers; you are supporting families; you are supporting vendors that, without your help, would not be able to thrive.” – Sal Mendivil, Wheatsville Food Co-op
  • “The best part of Greenbelt Homes is cooperative ownership – the fact that we self-govern here in a very real way. We have a true representative democracy, and we decide our own fate.” – Steve Skolnik, Greenbelt Homes
  • “I love knowing my neighbors, and I love participating in activities together. And it just feels like a different kind of living.” – Lauren Cummings, Greenbelt Homes
  • “While we are a for-profit company, we are non-profit motivated. When we look at growth, we look at how many farmers will be impacted, not how it will improve our bottom line. We think of community in a global sense. We bridge the gap between the small-scale farmers in various countries and the US consumer.” – Brian Albert, Equal Exchange

To see longer excerpts of these interviews, and to see how NCB is working with these cooperatives to leverage their strengths, please watch the following video.


Cooperatives make a difference in the lives of their employees, members, and communities. NCB’s employees are a team of dedicated, passionate workers who truly go above and beyond to help people and their communities. The customers- individuals, co-ops, and communities- are at the heart of every decision made by NCB. The employees in this video provide deeper insight into NCB’s innovative, community-centered feel.


Today, and every day, we celebrate the National Cooperative Bank for its never-ending devotion to helping co-ops succeed and communities to grow stronger. Together, we can build a better world!

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