The Co-operative Central Bank Ltd (CCB) was established in 1937 under the Co-operative Societies Laws and Rules having as its main purpose the provision of banking and other ancillary services to member co-operative societies which form the backbone of the agricultural community of Cyprus. Over the years the Bank has seen the need to expand and diversify its activities and is now in a position to provide the full range of services normally offered by comprehensive rural banks. The establishment of the Bank was a major event and turning point in the development of the Co-operative Movement and has proved instrumental in eradicating the then prevalent usury and exploitation of farmers. Its progress has been rapid and its success beyond the expectation of the pioneers of the Co-operative Movement.
By supporting existing as well as newly established Co-operative Societies the Bank has also contributed towards the idea of thrift. The numbers of members of the Co-operative Credit Societies increased steadily and the pioneers of thrift prevailed so that today the Cyprus Co-operative Movement provides an excellent example of attaining self-finance through the collection of rural savings. Virtually every village in the Government controlled area of Cyprus has its own Co-operative Society. The idea of attaining self-finance through thrift gradually found its way into towns and to the relatively more prosperous classes of the population. The progress made by the Bank provides an excellent example of what can be achieved by self-help and mutual-help.
The Bank’s contribution to the island’s economic growth and development should not be measured solely in terms of its funds raising activities and the provision of adequate credit to the Co-operative Movement. Because of its position, it has assumed a wider role than that of co-ordinating cash and credit flows. The Bank brings to their attention current economic problems, pinpoints special conditions existing in the Money Market and enlightens them on current business trends in the Co-operative Movements of other countries. Policies and practices followed by the rival commercial banks are the subject of regular deliberations aimed at preserving the Movement’s competitive edge and market share which accounted for around 32% of the deposits in local currency.
The Cyprus Co-operative Movement, in the context of its mission, plays an important, albeit, indirect role in the efforts aimed at fighting extreme poverty. The eradication of poverty has always been of particular concern to the Co-operative Movement which through the Co-operative Central Bank (CCB) and the Co-operative Credit Societies (CCS) operating in small villages as well as in all main towns, is responsible for around 32% of deposits in Cyprus.
CCB and its member Co-operative Credit Societies, given their mission and nature of activities, give priority and devote their resources to their main objective of serving the needs of their members.
Over the years by pursuing these objectives they have succeeded in:
The major function of the Bank is banking business which is provided from its branches established in all main government controlled towns and the capital Nicosia. The banking activities include acceptance of chequable and other deposits from co-operatives and the public, lending, money transfer services, issuing and administering means of payment (Banker’s drafts etc), issue of guarantees, acceptances, indemnities and commercial letters of credit, foreign exchange facilities as well as various ancillary services. It is a full-fledged commercial bank on an equal footing with the non-co-operative commercial banks.