Recently, in all media, there is a lot of information about Cooperative Savings and Credit Unions (SKOK). And all because some of them have big financial problems and just fall. So let’s take a look at exactly how the Credit Unions operate and who can use their services.
According to the “book” definition, SKOK is an institution established by a group of people who are connected with each other by organizational or professional ties. These cash registers appeared in our country in 1992. All over the world, they are known much earlier, and in total we can meet them in 105 countries. In Poland, SKOK-i associate nearly 2 million people, which is quite a large percentage. They were created mainly for those people who for various reasons can not use banking products.
Although we wrote earlier that Co-operative Savings and Credit Unions have been operating in our paradise since 1992, their history is much longer. Similarly, in the Middle Ages, institutions that were called merchant guilds, pious banks or widows’ coffers were active in the Middle Ages. However, the largest development of such cash registers took place in the 19th century, especially in Germany. They quickly spread to other countries, also reaching Poland. So we can meet folk banks, Stefczyka cash registers, and peasants at that time. What counts is that in the interwar period, there were about 3,500 cash registers in Poland, over 1.5 million of whom were involved. The development of these institutions, the World War II and their reconstruction, began after 1989, after the economic transformation.
Credit unions were created above all so that their members would have easier access to financial products (often their branches are opened in small towns), and moreover, that these products could be used by people who do not have access to banking products. Because credit unions do not operate on the basis of banking law, so they do not have to follow the rules that are specified in this act.
In order to become a member of the Credit Unions, you must complete the membership declaration, and also buy at least one share that can be recovered when we register with the Fund. In addition, if the Credit Unions act in association, it should also join it. And what products can we use when we are members of Credit Unions? Their offer includes loans, personal and current bills, deposits, credit cards, insurance, etc. They are practically the same products we find in banks’ offer. However, accessing them is much easier. On the one hand, this is good news, because, for example, people who do not get credit from the bank can go to SKOK and apply for a loan in this institution, which is likely to be granted. However, such lending to practically everyone is associated with a high risk that the money borrowed will not be returned. And then the troubles that many Kasas have to deal with today are starting for these institutions. Fortunately, deposits collected by SKOK customers are guaranteed by the Bank Guarantee Fund, so holders of deposits or bills can be sure that the funds deposited will always return to them.
Does SKOK-i need institutions in our country? Certainly yes. However, they should be managed in a professional manner and with all precautions. Then they will not be exposed to problems, and a growing group of people will want to become their members, thanks to which the Funds will be able to develop even faster.