This book investigates the merits of a diverse banking system with a special focus on the performance and role of cooperative banks in seven European countries where they are prominent (Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain). The theoretical and empirical arguments that are developed in this book tend to support the view that it is economically beneficial to have stakeholder-value banks with a dual bottom-line function, such as cooperative banks. For those who accept this premise, it would suggest that policy-makers should not take or support actions that could jeopardise this valuable element of the financial system in various countries in Europe and of the emerging integrated European financial system.
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