Australian credit unions and the demutualization agenda

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There is a strong prospect of widespread demutualization occurring in the Australian credit union industry in coming years. This paper explains the reasons for this phenomenon, identifies some potentially undesirable social consequences, and examines the relative merits of alternative types of demutualization process. It identifies a number of principles which warrant reflection in the design of legislation addressing demutualization processes. Copyright 2007 The Authors Journal compilation © CIRIEC 2007.

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... The second and most radical tragedy is 'pure demutualization', as witnessed in the Anglo-Saxon economy. Davis (2007Davis ( , 2014 stresses that the demutualization process can be driven by two main forces: efficiency and expropriation, that he formulates as two hypotheses which are not mutually exclusive. One major motivation for demutualization is the access to external capital to finance growth (Viswanathan 2006). ...
... The first occurs among current members. Davis (2007) explains that it is very difficult to analyze how much each member has contributed to the accumulated wealth. In the demutualization process, wealth distribution is unlikely to correspond to each member's contribution. ...
The emerging field of common good socio-economics is promising not only for the preservation of common natural resources but also for common goods created by people through collective action, the importance of which has been emphasized by the recent financial and economic crisis. Based on the case of cooperative finance, this paper's outcomes are twofold. First, it shows that while the boundaries between the nature and property regime of goods may be relatively clear for natural common goods, they appear much more interlinked for human-made goods, where commons are embedded in intergenerational reciprocity. Second, it demonstrates that financial cooperatives can be understood as human-made commons and proposes a new way of thinking about public policies to design adequate legislation to protect these commons from isomorphism, privatization and destruction.
... Many have focused on economic behaviour using the efficiency hypothesis or agency theory to explain why one organizational form replaced another (Carson et al., 1998;Mayers & Smith, 1986;McNamara & Rhee, 1992). Other research suggests that institutional, political and regulatory factors are significant drivers of change (Chaddad & Cook, 2004;Davis 2005;Martin & Turner, 2000). Further studies identified a change of management culture, resulting from changes in the operating business environment, as responsible for decisions to demutualize (Marshall et al., 2003). ...
... The new financial services landscape undermined management support for the mutual ownership organizational form. Davis (2005), in a study of Australian credit unions, suggests that demutualization was likely to occur when one or more of three conditions applied: when the organization had a large capital base and disparate membership; when there was increased competition impacting on profits and opportunities for growth existed; or when credit unions moved away from their traditional business and professional managers gained increasing influence. Each of these conditions was evident in both the AMP and Sanlam cases. ...
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Since the 1980s a wave of demutualizations has occurred across the financial services sector from stock exchanges to building societies, savings and loans associations and insurers. In both Australia and South Africa, this has had a marked effect on the life insurance markets that had been dominated by mutual life insurers for 150 years. This article adopts a case study approach to analyse the key drivers of organizational change. It examines the experiences of the Australian Mutual Provident (Australia's oldest and largest life insurance mutual) and Sanlam (the second-largest mutual life office in South Africa) as they proceeded down the path to demutualization. Firm-specific, market-specific and country-specific forces are identified as placing pressure on existing mutual structures.
... L'adaptation des coopératives au nouveau contexte socio-économique mondial est un thème de recherche qui intéresse les spécialistes de ces questions comme en témoignent les travaux récents de Bakaikoa, Errasti, et Begiristain (2004), Fernández Guadaño (2006, Ory, Gutner et Jaeger (2006), Côté (2007), Davis (2007), Stiglitz (2009), Wanyama, Develtere et Pollet (2009) et Spear (2011). Présenter rapidement, la problématique se pose ainsi. ...
... However, the problems of adverse selection and moral hazard, which are associated with information asymmetry and uncertainty, make it likely that some directors (and executive management) might be tempted to assign higher priority to objectives other than those of CU members. These challenges are likely to become more acute given the increasing professionalization of CU management and the pending introduction of prudential requirements based on minimum capital requirements (Kester, 1996;Davis, 2005). Additionally, unlike managers of publicly traded firms, the managers of CUs are not subjected to the discipline of capital markets, whether by institutional investors, significant block holders, or analysts. ...
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This paper provides an assessment of the competence and independence of members of the supervisory committee (SC) of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) Credit Unions (CUs), and examines factors that are associated with SC chairpersons' competence and independence. Most of the information used in the paper was collected by conducting structured interviews with the immediate-past chairperson of the supervisory committees of 58 T&T CUs. The results of the analysis indicate that the overall level of financial literacy, financial expertise and independence among SC chairpersons was relatively low. The SC chairpersons of community-based CUs tended to be significantly more financially literate than their counterparts in organizationally-based CUs. Also, the results suggest that the independence of SC chairpersons varied negatively with CU Size.
... The potential sophistication of financial services on offer to members depends on country specific regulation and legislation. For example, in the United States, Canada and Australia, credit union regulation is similar to that of banks and hence some credit unions in these countries have grown into large bank-like organisations or have converted to banks (Heinrich and Kashian 2008;Davis 2007). In other countries such as Great Britain, Poland, Romania, Macedonia and NI, national legislation restricts the products that credit unions can offer, such as rules on loan size amounts and durations (McKillop et al. 2010) and credit unions have remained community, member-governed, NP, financial organisations. ...
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Although non-profit organisations typically have high representation of females on their boards, relatively little is known about the effects of gender diversity in these organisations particularly in relation to financial management. In this archival study, resource dependency theory and agency analysis are combined to provide theoretical insight and empirical analysis of gender diversity on effective financial management in member-governed, community financial institutions. The investigation is possible due to the unique characteristics of the organisational form and region being examined—credit unions in Northern Ireland. The sector has not been subject to external regulation on board gender, yet a wide array of gender mix on boards ranging from 100 % male to 100 % female are in existence. In addition, effective financial management is crucial to their survival and their ability to meet member objectives. Boards with higher female representation exhibit superior financial management first, in respect of loan book quality in the period of austerity following the financial crisis and second when measured against return on assets.
... ISSN 2222-1697 (Paper) ISSN 2222-2847 (Online) Vol.6, No.1, 2015 28 results indicate that the main causes of demutualization are the technology driven growth opportunity, product driven growth and increase in market concentration. Davis (2007) has investigated the demutualization prospects in Australian credit union. The issues discussed in the paper are the reasons for the social consequences, the principle for the design of legislation addressing demutualization and the types of demutualization possible. ...
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The objective of this paper is to examine the impact of demutualization upon the performance of stock exchanges' in terms of their liquidity as per the share turnover velocity and the returns that are generated from the broad indexes. The impact of demutualization has been examined upon a global basis, regional basis and amongst individual exchanges; the sample size is that of 3 stock exchanges from each region. The three regions from which the exchanges have been selected are the Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe. The model applied in this study was the matched-pair t-test to examine the pre and post demutualization levels of liquidity and returns generated. The results of this study show that demutualization increases the liquidity of the exchanges to a greater degree as compared to improving the returns of the exchanges. Therefore, the conclusions of this study are that demutualization is a not favorable for investors because demutualization does not increase the returns generated in an exchange; the increase in liquidity caused by demutualization makes it favorable for members of the exchange. However, this study does not take into consideration the global financial conditions while assessing the impact of demutualization upon a global scale.
... Vaikka tälläkin lehdellä on taloustieteellinen painotus, eivät liiketaloustieteen piiriinkään kuuluvat kysymykset ole sille vieraita. Kyseisessä lehdessä ovat julkaisseet muun muassa Birchall (2000) kuluttajaosuuskunnan valtausyrityksestä, Clamp (2000) Mondragonin kansainvälistymisestä, Spear (2000) osuuskuntien kilpailuedusta, Ole Borgen (2001) (2007) luotto-osuuskuntien yhteiskuntavastuullisista investoinneista, (Davis, 2007) luotto-osuuskuntien demutualisaatioagendasta, sekä Guzman ja Arcas (2008) laskentainformaation käyttökelpoisuudesta maatalousosuuskuntien teknisen tehokkuuden mittaamisessa. ...
... Credit unions retain any profit generated by their activities to build capital or to be returned to the current member owners as a more favorable interest-rate spread. Davis (2007) argues that current members prefer better interestrate spreads to a higher profit because of the uncertainty of their property rights over retained earnings derived from higher profits. ...
Credit unions focus their profit and capital management on the tradeoff between providing immediate financial benefits to members and augmenting their institutional well-being through capital accumulation. In this study, we investigate the changes in benefits to credit union members via the interest-rate spread around the adoptions of internet-based services for the period of 2000–2009. Using the propensity score matching method, we show that adopters offer a less favorable interest-rate spread to their members than non-adopters. However, we find evidence that early adopters have a lower degree of market power in dealing with their members than late adopters and offer interest-rate spreads comparable to those of non-adopters over a three-year period following the adoption year. The results are robust to different definitions of internet-based services non-adopters and different models used to estimate adoption probabilities.
... 5 In other some other countries, credit unions are much more sophisticated and can provide similar services to banking institutions, for example in the US, Canada and Australia several credit unions have converted to banks. See Heinrich and Kashian (2008) for a discussion of US demutualisation activity and Davis (2005Davis ( , 2007 for a discussion of Australian demutualisation activity. overdue for between 10 and 18 weeks, 20% of net loans that are overdue for between 19 and 26 weeks, 40% of net loans that are overdue for between 27 and 39 weeks, 60% of net loans that are overdue for between 40 and 52 weeks and 100% of net loans that are overdue for over 52 weeks) be made by the credit union. ...
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Credit unions in Northern Ireland are subject to a unique combination of statutory oversight and self-regulation. This paper investigates the association between prudence and the monitoring of financial ratios by credit union trade associations. We find that compliance with the mandated level of capital reserves is uniformly high, regardless of the existence or extent of self-regulation. However, after controlling for cross-sectional differences in profitability, age, size, growth and common bond type a positive association exists between self-regulation and financial ratios measuring prudence and loan book quality. These findings have policy implications for the regulation of credit unions in Northern Ireland and elsewhere regarding potential regulatory cost savings from reliance on self-regulation provided by trade associations.
... Even if this is the case, demutualization involves significant wealth redistribution, and thus warrants attention by both academic researchers and policy makers. Davis (2001 Davis ( , 2005 Davis ( , 2007) summarizes many of the theoretical arguments for and against credit union demutualization using as a backdrop Australian credit unions. Davis (2007) argues that demutualization can be socially beneficial when it involves an efficiency enhancing change in governance and organizational structure. ...
In 2009 there were over 49,330 credit unions across 98 countries with more than 184 million members and approximately $1,354 billion in assets. There is a great diversity within the credit union movement across these countries. This reflects the various economic, historic and cultural contexts within which credit unions operate. This paper traces the evolution of the credit union movement. It examines credit union objectives, and considers issues relating to efficiency, technology adoption, product diversification, merger, failure and demutualisation. The regulatory environment within which credit unions operate is also explored under the themes of interest rate regulation, common bond requirements, taxation, deposit insurance and capital regulation. The overview also considers demutualisation and the costs and benefits to credit unions of altering their organisational form.
... Data for this study is collected from 1987 and missing data has been supplemented where possible by direct referral to credit union annual reports . The fiscal year refers to the period July 1 – June 30 , except for a small number of 13 Davis ( 2007 ) provides more information on recent developments in the credit union sector in Australia . 14 Australian credit unions pay company tax , and hence net profit after tax is the amount available to increase capital ( and the variable used in measuring return on assets or equity ) . ...
Capital management by mutual financial institutions (such as credit unions) provides a valuable testing ground for assessing the impact of capital regulation and theories of managerial behaviour in financial institutions. Limited access to external equity capital means that capital accumulation must be met primarily by reliance on retained earnings. To deal with shocks to the capital position and avoid breaching regulatory requirements, managers will aim to have a buffer of capital in excess of the regulatory minimum. Moreover, mutual governance arrangements and an absence of capital market discipline mean that managers have discretion to set target capital ratios which differ significantly from industry averages. This paper develops a formal model of capital management and risk management in mutual financial institutions such as credit unions which reflects these industry characteristics. The model is tested using data from larger credit unions in Australia, which have been subject to the Basel Accord Risk Weighted Capital Requirements since 1993. The data supports the hypothesis that credit unions manage their capital position by setting a short term target profit rate (return on assets) which is positively related to asset growth and which is aimed at gradually removing discrepancies between the actual and desired capital ratio. Desired capital ratios vary significantly across credit unions. There is little evidence of short run adjustments to the risk of the asset portfolio to achieve a desired capital position.
Purpose Credit unions offer an alternative to traditional banking given their distinctive ownership structure and their goal of maximising members’ benefits. Motivated by the increased expectations regarding more ethical behaviour in the financial industry, this paper aims to provide a better understanding of the relevant features and values that facilitated the emergence of the credit union movement in Australia. Design/methodology/approach Using social movement theory, this study analyses 23 interviews conducted in the early 1990s with the supporters of the credit union movement in Australia, in which the characteristics and values of the credit union movement are identified. Findings Findings demonstrate that the credit union ethos is rooted in family and religious influences, and that these organisations were keen on promoting their distinctiveness on “fairness” and “caring for their members”. Credit unions, however, have rarely tackled the movement’s most neglected value “cooperation between cooperatives”. Originality/value This research contributes to the discussion of ethics in business history as it elaborates on how values and ethos crafted the identity and ensured the survival of the credit union movement in Australia.
Does co-operative banking constitute a viable alternative to the prevailing joint-stock model of modern times? This chapter examines the role of the co-operative movement from the early credit co-operatives, established by the founding fathers Schulze-Delitzsch and Raiffeisen in famine-struck nineteenth-century Germany, to the complex and hybrid iterations of the model in contemporary European economies. It outlines co-operative banking’s historical roots, with its groundbreaking practices of self-help, solidarity between members and financial inclusion irrespective of social condition or wealth, its ongoing conceptualization, the principles and values associated with co-operative banking, its role in modern economies, and examines empirical evidence on the performance of the sector relative to commercial alternatives and its contribution to financial stability in the European context.
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Development of Credit Co-operatives in Slovenia
Credit unions focus their profit management on providing benefits to their members and augmenting their institutional well-being through capital accumulation. In this study, we investigate the changes in benefits to borrowing and saving members around the adoptions of transactional websites by credit unions for the period of 2000–2009. Using the propensity score matching method, we show that credit union adopters offered borrowing members a better interest rate than non-adopters immediately after the recession of 2001–2002 and a similar rate when economy rebounded. Our results indicate that transactional websites offer credit union members more convenient services with no negative impact on the interest rate on deposits. The results are robust to different definitions of internet-based services non-adopters and different models used to estimate adoption probabilities.
Recent decades have seen substantial demutualization of financial institutions around the world, involving the conversion of accumulated communally owned wealth into private wealth. Whether driven by a quest for a more efficient organizational structure or by wealth expropriation incentives, different methods of demutualization have different implications for wealth allocation among current members and transfers of wealth to outsiders. While credit union sectors internationally have, to date, experienced few demutualizations, there are increasing incentives for such organizational change. Three alternative demutualization strategies (share issue to members plus an external capital raising, liquidation and cash distribution to members (a quasi-demutualization), and merger with a listed company) recently used by Australian credit unions are analysed to highlight wealth implications, survival risks for the mutual form and potential problems arising in the demutualization process.
Since the 1990s financial sector regulation in Australia has treated credit unions and building societies the same as banks under the designated title of authorized depository institutions. This allows credit unions to choose between different organizational structures: cooperative; convert to customer-owned banks or to demutualize. This article utilizes semi-structured interviews to analyse the key motivations for organizational change. It examines a number of credit unions and their conversion experience to customer-owned banks. It finds that adaptation of the credit union model was necessary to change customer perceptions, ensure future growth in the customer base and assets, and facilitate access to capital raisings with the credit rating of a bank. Despite this change customer-owned banks retain the core principals of mutuality.
Purpose The aftermath of the subprime mortgage crisis has accelerated a pre‐existing process of ethical approach in the banking industry. Today, all banks claim to be socially, environmentally and economically committed with the philosophy of sustainable finance. The purpose of this paper is to show that, beyond the outward similarities, there are three different types of banking approach, each reflecting a distinct business model: banks whose ethical/social approach is mainly based on what they say, represented by universal banks; banks whose ethical/social approach is based on what they are, essentially the co‐operative banks; banks whose ethical/social approach is based on what they do, the so‐called ethical banks. Design/methodology/approach The paper bases its argument on the German banking industry, which is a big European country with a fairly diversified banking sector. The paper examines three types of sources for each of the above‐mentioned categories of banks: the social and environmental reporting, the conformity or not with the principles of the social and solidarity‐based economy and the different types of financial activities as reflected in their balance sheet. Findings The paper concludes that more ethical behaviour leads to both economic performance and social gains which increase wealth for all partners. Research limitations/implications The proposed methodology could be extended to other European banking systems to discuss their implications as regards corporate social responsibility. Practical implications This contribution will help the reader to evaluate banking communication as regards corporate social responsibility in their daily activity. Originality/value This research will give an insight based on the documents published by banking institutions to measure their implication on corporate social responsibility.
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This paper reviews experience with credit union demutualisation to date in the light of increasing discussion about whether demutualisation is a likely (or inevitable) future stage in the evolutionary process. It is argued that the credit union industry faces an inherent demutualisation bias which emerges as the sector develops maturity. Contributing factors include the emergence of professional management pursuing personal objectives, together with the economic realities of technological change, financial liberalisation, increased competition, and prudential regulation based on minimum capital requirements. Demutualisation incentives may partially reflect the unsuitability of the mutual form of governance in larger, more sophisticated financial institutions, but there is also a significant risk of demutualisation based on wealth expropriation motives. Alternative policies and strategies which might avoid this demutualisation bias are examined.
Summarizes the reasons for and methods of regulation in worldwide capital markets; and describes in detail the development, governance and regulatory structure of the Warsaw stock exchange (Poland). Uses a variance ratio approach based on Lo and MacKinlay (1988, 1989) to examine price behaviour in the exchange from 1991 to 1995, shows that it is not a random walk market and puts forward possible explanations for its market inefficiency. Considers the implications for the Polish economy and suggests that public policymakers could tighten securities laws and exchange rules to improve the efficiency of this emerging capital market.
For centuries economists have been analysing how regulations governing the operation of markets may improve the workings of an economic system. In the past twenty years, particularly in the United States, there has emerged a large body of research which analyses the role of a particular type of regulation: those operating in financial markets. Much of this research reflects the particular forms of regulation of financial ‐ and in particular banking ‐ oper‐ations in the United States. As in the UK, there are forms of supervision and regulation of financial markets in the United States which are unique to that sector of the economy. This has prompted a whole range of questions ‐ can the existence of special forms of regulation for banks and other financial institutions be justified in terms of some fundamental differences between these and other (non‐finan‐cial) firms? Who benefits from the restrictions on financial firms? What are the costs of the particular forms of supervision which are used?
Connect Credit Union is a successful mutual organisation in Tasmania, Australia. In 2003 its members were suddenly told that the Board proposed demutualising and seeking listing on the Australian sharemarket. Opponents to the Board's plan were given very little time to mount a campaign to challenge the proposal. However, drawing on international support and information from co-operators, they were able to defeat the proposal. A leader of the campaign was elected to the Board, with the highest polling, at a subsequent meeting of members.This paper examines the situation which resulted in the surprise demutualisation proposal, the tactics used to defeat it, and the financial performance of the organisation both before and after 2003.It provides lessons for other co-operatives and mutuals which may face unwanted calls for demutualisation.
The paper compares co-operative governance structure to outside ownership. The distinction between the two lies in who has residual rights of control. It is found that a co-operative becomes relatively less efficient as the environment becomes more competitive, and the interests of members become more skewed. These ideas are applied to the governance of exchanges.
We examine 98 property-casualty insurance companies that convert to stock charter from a mutual or reciprocal form of organization. Our evidence shows converting firms have low surplus, significant growth in premium income, and draw down on their non-financial assets in years prior to conversion. Following conversion there is significant growth in assets and the number of States licensed. We also show by examining evidence on the riskiness of firms' operations that converting companies began operating like stock companies prior to conversion. Thus, our evidence suggests there can be important costs associated with the operation of a mutual or reciprocal insurance company. These costs can include the opportunity costs associated with foregone investments arising because of higher incremental capital costs inherent in the mutual or reciprocal forms of ownership. There also is a cost disadvantage if a mutual or reciprocal is operating in activities more appropriate for the stock ownership form. These costs can in particular circumstances offset the advantage mutual ownership affords in controlling incentives to transfer wealth from policyholders to equityholders.
This paper examines the volatility of capital flows following the liberalization of financial markets. Utilizing a panel data set of overlapping data, the paper focuses on the response of foreign direct investment, portfolio flows, and other debt flows to financial liberalization. The financial liberalization variable comes from the chronology and index developed by Kaminsky and Schmukler [Kaminsky, G.L. and Schmukler, S.L., 2003, Short-run pain, long-run gain: The effects of financial liberalization, IMF Working Paper WP/03/34.]. Different types of capital flows are found to respond differently to financial liberalization. Surprisingly, portfolio flows appear to show little response to capital liberalization while foreign direct investment flows show significant increases in volatility, particularly for the emerging markets considered.
This paper addresses the issue of whether differences in corporate form necessitate differences in regulation. It focuses on the implications of differences in the ownership structure of deposit-taking mutual associations that compete with publicly quoted banks in intermediating funds. Many of the theoretical and empirical issues that arise here apply more generally to other financial markets where mutual institutions and stockholder firms operate side by side. Copyright 1994 by Blackwell Publishers Ltd and The Victoria University of Manchester
What impacts would minimum capital requirements have on mutual institutions lacking the ability to raise equity capital? Can the response of credit unions to capital controls be explained by internal member bonding? The imposition of capital controls on credit unions by the Australian Financial Institutions Commission is studied as a Box-Tiao time series quasi-experiment. Time series intervention and trend analyses are performed on a sample of 150 credit unions over the period 1987 to 1997, together with cross-sectional regressions of the estimated responses. The results demonstrate that the capital controls had a significant impact on credit union behavior. Consistent with theoretical expectations, the response of individual credit unions is found to be a function of initial capital levels and internal member bonding. Copyright CIRIEC, 2005.
Mutual – to – stock Conversions: Problems with the Pricing of Initial Public OfferingsCredit Union Governance and Survival of the Cooperative FormCredit Unions and Demutualisaton” Managerial Finance
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Home building, StateWest merger delayed
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Disclosure statement: for the demutualisation of StateWest as part of the proposed merger between StateWest Credit Society and Home Building Society
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