Social finance tools for cooperation and development: the cooperative banking sector as a potential pillar for impact investments in Greece

Manolis Tzouvelekas

The purpose of this paper is to examine the philosophy, the methods, the tools and the impact of social finance and its potential implementation by cooperative banks. Contemporary member-owned banks functioning under the six points of Paris Declaration trying continuously a) to offer sustainable solutions to the crisis b) support the Agenda 2020 goals and c) foster new thinking, without compromising the seven principles of Cooperatives.

To that context social finance may meet these criteria and offer alternative solutions to a sustainable society. Additionally, there
is “a research gap in relation to banking and social innovation”
and this work will try to provide some evidence.

The literature is conducted to review the current academic thinking on social finance and impact investment and its potential appliance by the Greek coop-banking sector. Recent research shows that “sector’s weaknesses can be dealt with innovative behaviour, accumulated experience and inter-bank co-operation by co-operative banks”.

To that extend, an innovative social collective investment scheme is presented as a vehicle of cooperation and development exceeding the local needs served by the cooperative banks and offering wider investment solutions to society, cooperatives and social enterprises by aligning demand and supply for social investment through the presence and the active role of cooperative banks as intermediaries.
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