Asociación Española de Cajas Rurales (Spanish Association of Rural Savings Banks)
In the mid-1980s, twenty-three Rural Savings Banks, which had, until then, belonged to Grupo Asociado Banco de Crédito Agrícola – Cajas Rurales Asociadas, left Grupo BCA and formed the Asociación Española de Cooperativas de Crédito (Spanish Credit Cooperatives Association), nowadays Asociación Española de Cajas Rurales (Spanish Association of Rural Savings Banks).Since that time and to date, a further fifty-four Rural Savings Banks have joined the Association, making it one of the main banking groups operating in the Spanish financial system.
Its own institutional framework, and the company structure that has grown around it, confirm the consolidation of the most recent and far-reaching concentration process of the Spanish Cooperative Bank.
The resulting system of integration is a form of federated bank that enables the Rural Savings Banks in the network to keep their independence, without needing to sacrifice the vital requirement for efficiency in banking and company operations, also allowing them to take their activities beyond the limitations of their individual sizes and geographical areas.
The Rural Savings Banks in the group have, therefore, a defined area of activity in which to carry out their operations, yet they are not isolated, because their cooperation as a group allows them to access wider areas. Therefore Grupo Caja Rural can offer the same services as other banks and savings banks, while maintaining its links with the local area.
The formula for integration adopted by Grupo Caja Rural echoes that of other successful long-standing European cooperative banking systems, some of which are ranked among the continent’s top banking groups, such as, for example, Okobank in Finland, Rabobank in the Netherlands, Österreichische Raiffeisenbanken in Austria, Crédit Agricole in France or the German system Volksbanken-Raiffeisenbanken, better known in Spain through its central entity DZ BANK, that have market shares of approximately 31, 25, 24, 22 and 17 per cent respectively.
At this moment, 29 Rural Savings Banks comprising the Group, make up the total number of the rural savings banks operating in Spain, more than 54% of their total asset volume.