Cyprus' cooperative system has a long history. The first cooperatives were established in 1909, even before legislation to govern them had been enacted. The Cooperatives Law was passed five years later, in 1914. Up until 1925, the number of cooperatives established and functioning was no more than 29. In this period, there was only little development of ideas concerning the cooperative system.

Cyprus Ziraat Bank (Cyprus Agricultural Bank)

Cyprus Ziraat Bank was established in 1925 in order to answer the need for long-term agricultural loans. Cooperative Loan Companies were authorised to act as the bank’s agents and to be active in the distribution and collection of agricultural loans provided by the government. This move was a great encouragement for the cooperative system movement and 175 new cooperatives were established in four years. However, the mere authorisation the cooperatives to act as agents for Cyprus Ziraat Bank was not very successful as it did not truly serve the real principles and the workings of the cooperative system. As a result, the government decided to sever the ties between the cooperative loan companies and Cyprus Ziraat Bank and to establish a separate authority, The Office of Cooperatives.

The Office of Cooperatives

The Office of Cooperatives was established in 1935 in order to reorganise the cooperatives. Programmes to enable the cooperatives to be independent and democratic and to have financially self-sufficient structures were successfully implemented. Some cooperatives had gone beyond self-sufficiency and had accumulated resources in excess of their needs. It was this that led to the idea of the establishment of The Central Cooperative Bank being conceived.

Central Cooperative Bank

Central Cooperative Bank was founded in 1938. Its main aim was to take deposits from those cooperatives which had resources in excess of their needs, and to make these available for the use of other cooperatives in need of funds. In other words, the aim was to offer the same services as those supplied to the members of the primary cooperatives to the other member cooperatives of the Central Cooperative Bank, via the bank itself.

Cyprus Turkish Cooperative Central Bank – Koopbank

In 1959, after Cyprus gained its independence, the Kooperatifler Dairesi (The Cooperatives Office) and Central Cooperative Bank, which had been serving both the Turkish and the Greek cooperatives, were separated in two in line with the Constitution and the Founding Agreement. The Cyprus Turkish Cooperative Central Bank was founded, registered and commenced its operations on the 9th of September1959 with the partnership of 196 Turkish member cooperatives.

Another definition of the cooperative system is “The cooperatives are children born out of needs”. KoopBank is one of the best examples of this. Between 1963–1974, Turkish Cypriots' years of struggle, as the country's only organised financial institution, it had extended its services beyond the banking sector into industry, trade and services as a corporate body serving the needs of the nation.

Todays Koopbank

Today, Cyprus Turkish Cooperative Central Bank, by virtue of its own resources, the volume of its deposits and investments, the number of its personnel, its added value and the direct and indirect taxes it provides for the government, is one of the leading establishments of our country.

It has been actively the largest financial institution of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) for many years and accounts for %23 of both the balance sheet and the volume of deposits of the banking sector.

Today, every single cooperative operating in the TRNC is a member of the Kooperatif Bank. In this form our bank also has the leading role for all the active cooperatives.

As a cooperative establishment, our bank is subjected to the cooperative laws as well as to banking legislation. Under the previous banking legislation, KoopBank was able to operate in the fields of industry, trade and services sectors, but under the new banking legislation it has withdrawn from all sectors apart from finance. All of its units that operated in fields other than finance have one by one been turned into cooperative companies and enabled to continue their work as 100% associates of the bank.

The main aim of working with the excess funds of some cooperatives by using them as loans provided for the funding needs of other cooperatives and remains one of the bank’s priorities. Today, additionally, with its wide branch network, high level of technological infrastructure and service range, Koopbank meets all kinds of financial needs with personal and commercial banking services for the member cooperatives, trade companies and the nation at large.