Oikocredit Canada Cooperative – West (formerly Oikocredit BC) was established in 1994 and is one of three Canadian Support Associations related to Oikocredit International (Ecumenical Development Co-operative Society) registered in the Netherlands.
Oikocredit International was established in 1975 and is one of the oldest and largest cooperatives in the world providing credit to the Cooperative and Microfinance sectors in the developing world. The consolidated total assets were approximately $900 million as of December 31st, 2010. Oikocredit’s mission is to challenge individuals and organizations to share their resources through socially responsible investments and by empowering disadvantaged people with credit. Approximately one third of Oikocredit’s loans go to fair trade, agriculture, manufacturing, livestock/fishery and other cooperatives, and two thirds to Microfinance institutions (MFIs) who then lend to small independent entrepreneurs. Oikocredit also invest in small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Oikocredit’s total capital outstanding is over $640 million and reaches a total number of 880 project partners, with 300 projects being Co-operatives. Many of these Cooperatives have their own savings and credit union programmes.
The organization in many aspects is unique as it:
- Operates like a cooperative development “bank”, providing long-term financing to disadvantaged people (people who would normally not obtain a loan from a commercial bank);
- Benefits from a wide network of regional offices and country offices;
- Is one of the few cooperative societies operating with a worldwide membership of investors and clients.
- Manages its operations with the goal of achieving a limited financial return as well as a social return for it’s investors;
- Has a unique structure of members, project partners, regional offices and an international office; and
- Uses Social Performance – environmental, social, governance (ESG) scorecard in the implementation of a screening process that reflects Oikocredit core social selection criteria with clear client protections principles, and vigorous environmental and governance criteria.
Oikocredit International has more than 500 members worldwide who are direct members and 31 Support Associations mostly in Europe, the USA and Canada. However, the Support Associations have a total of some 35,000 members. As of December 31st, 2010 Oikocredit had a total share capital of approximately $600 million. In addition, Oikocredit also holds considerable amounts in Loan loss Provisions and Reserve Accounts. OIKOCREDIT CANADA COOPERATIVE - WEST (OCW) is one such Support Association with an office situated in Victoria, BC. OCW has currently over 350 members and nearly $4,000,000 in investments. These investments are part of the overall loan portfolio of Oikocredit International.
Oikocredit offers a dual return to investors: social and financial. In addition to earning a modest financial returns – normally 2% per annum - investors are secure in the knowledge that their money is being used to fight poverty, promote cooperative communities and respect our planet’s natural resources. The repayment rate from clients, mainly women, has been around 98% for many years. Since inception no one has lost a cent on their investments.
You have the opportunity as a cooperative or as an individual to make a socially responsible investment in Oikocredit Canada Cooperative – West which will be used in it’s entirety to provide affordable credit to another cooperative or needy individual in the developing world. Oikocredit Canada Cooperative – West is available to answer any questions, give presentations, and discuss investment possibilities and can be contacted through the international website. www.oikocredit.org with links to OCW or phone 250 483 5225 or 250 385 1538.