Volksbanken und Raiffeisenbanken

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Volksbank Kiel, showing the BVR banks' logo

Volksbanken und Raiffeisenbanken is a brand of co-operative banks in Germany. "Volksbank" derives from People's Bank institutes (co-operatives originally created by a local population often based in a town) and "Raiffeisenbanken" refers to banks founded on initiatives by Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen (who was pioneering farmer credit unions). Many co-operative banks in Germany have either "Volksbank" or "Raiffeisenbank" in their name – the nationwide services and associations in the co-operative branch of the German financing industry used the compound of the plurals of these words (so it translates as Peoples banks and Raiffeisen banks).

The national association is the Bundesverband der Deutschen Volksbanken und Raiffeisenbanken.


The Bundesverband der Deutschen Volksbanken und Raiffeisenbanken (Federal Association of German 'Volksbanken und Raiffeisenbanken' Co-operative Banks) has introduced the "FinanzVerbund" (translated by the association as "Cooperative Financial Services Network") or Finanzverbund Volksbanken Raiffeisenbanken combining a number of subsidiaries.

Note how some financial institutes use variants of the Volksbanken und Raiffeisenbanken brand, its abbreviation "VR" or the older brand "R+V" (spoken as "R and V" referring to Raiffeisen and Volksbank). The scheme of a corporate identity and a franchise market where a brand and product structure is licensed is a modern invention that came about long after most co-operatives were founded, so many financial institutes continue with their historic name. Nevertheless, most of the co-operative financial institutes have changed to the blue-orange color of the Volksbanken und Raiffeisenbanken brand (only Schwäbisch-Hall continues with its traditional red-yellow logo).

The 'Volksbanken und Raiffeisenbanken' group in Germany is not associated with the 'Volksbank' institutes (people's bank) in other countries, like the Volksbank group headquartered in Austria. Likewise 'Raiffeisen' is more generic than banks and it is often used in other co-operation types in the farming industry, see Deutscher Genossenschafts- und Raiffeisenverband.

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