The Raiffeisen Year 2018 is celebrating the 200th birthday of Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen, one of the founders of the co-operative idea and the co-operative banking concept. His idea was and still is of great importance worldwide. The aim of the Raiffeisen Year 2018 is therefore to not only celebrate and enhance the co-operative idea, but to set the stage for Raiffeisen’s descendants to carry on his legacy for the future. Raiffeisen's founding idea is: "we can achieve more together than alone".
Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen was one of the founding fathers of the co-operative movement in general and more specifically of co-operative banking. He was born in 1818 in Germany. He was the son of Gottfried Friedrich Raiffeisen, a farmer and a mayor. After a brief career in the military, Friedrich Raiffeisen became mayor himself at the early age of 27, an office he would carry out for the next 20 years in several municipalities in the Rhineland region. He died in 1888 at the age of 69.
Raiffeisen conceived of the idea of co-operative during his tenure as the young mayor. He was inspired by observing the suffering of the farmers who were often in the grip of loansharks. He founded the first co-operative lending bank in 1864.
A cooperative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, financial, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise. The cooperative principles are:
More than 22 million people in Germany and more than 1 billion people worldwide are now members of a cooperative. In fact, the cooperative idea is so strong that UNESCO recognized the cooperative idea as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
During the past 4 years different groups of FCA workers have participated in the seminars organized by the German Academy of Cooperatives (ADG), which have granted FCA staff a possibility to visit the Raiffeisen house-museum and several branches of “Raiffeisen” cooperative bank, as well as get acquainted with the history of the foundation and development of cooperatives and the banks’ activities.
Nowadays, 10-year-old Farm Credit Armenia credit cooperative is the only ambassador of the cooperative idea in Armenia and the Trans Caucasus; its main mission is to improve the rural life quality in Armenia through a stable and qualified credit cooperative that will provide affordable financial services based on cooperative principles. Being a young cooperative, Farm Credit confidently moves forward in the banking sphere strengthening the cooperative idea in our region and developing cooperative banking culture among farmers and entrepreneurs.