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Adequate financial resources are fundamental to start, operate and grow any business. There are also finance issues that are unique to cooperatives, since cooperatives are structured to provide benefits to patron members, rather than capital investors.  Members, as owners, provide equity capital in proportion to their use of the cooperative. It is part of members' obligation as owners to share in business risk as well as business profitability.

NEW! A Learning and Training Tool for Understanding Worker Cooperative Finances  
For Board Training and Member Education

The basics of cooperative finance

Cooperative Equity and Ownership: An Introduction


Additional Publications

Current Trends in Cooperative Finance, Economics at Digital Reposityory @ Iowa State University, 2016

Cooperation among Cooperatives: Quantifying the Business Case for Credit Unions and Other Cooperatives, Filene Research Institute

Stock v. Nonstock Cooperatives in Wisconsin, UWCC Fact Sheet

Solidarity as a Business Model: A Multi-Stakeholder Cooperatives Manual  
Cooperative Development Center@Kent State University

Table: Comparison of Wisconsin Statute 185 - Cooperatives and Statute 193 - Wisconsin Cooperative Associations Act, UWCC Fact Sheet

Balance Sheet Ratios and Analysis for Cooperatives, UWCC Fact Sheet

Innovations in Cooperative Ownership: Converted and Hybrid Listed Cooperatives, O.F. van Bekkum and J. Bijman, 2006

How a Banker Looks at Financial Leverage, Lee Estenson, Year in Cooperation, Spring 1996.


USDA Rural Development Library of Publications

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development -- Business and Cooperative Programs has an extensive library of useful publications, especially those related to agricultural producer cooperatives. Publications on finance topics include:

    Cooperative Financing and Taxation 
    Cooperative Information Report 1 Sec.9

    What Are Patronage Refunds?  
    Cooperative Information Report 9

    Base Capital Financing of Cooperatives 
    Cooperative Information Report 51

    Working with Financial Statements - Guide for Cooperative Members  
    Cooperative Information Report 43

    Consolidation of Balance Sheet Components During Cooperative Mergers 
    Research Report 139

    Cost of Capital for Agricultural Cooperatives 
    Research Report 163

    Understanding Cooperative Bookkeeping and Financial Statements
    Cooperative Information Report 57

    Managing Your Cooperative's Equity
    Cooperative Information Report 56


NCERA-194 Research on Cooperatives - Publications

UWCC Archives