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Credit Unions in Romania – a strong social enterprise model to combat financial exclusion and over indebtedness


  • Cristina BARNA

    (Institute of Social Economy - Civil Society Development Foundation, Romania)

  • Ancuta VAMEsU

    (Institute of Social Economy Coordinator - Civil Society Development Foundation, Romania)


Credit unions are social economy entities that have an important contribution to preventing financial and social exclusion in Romania. Historically, we can speak about credit unions in Romania from XVIII century in Transylvania, until present. These social economy entities have been a considerable support during all these times for persons with low income in Romania, being credible institutions in the communist period, and also after 1990 Revolution, facing successfully all turbulent economic transformations and global challenges, adapting and developing themselves continuously until present, when they begin to embrace microfinance and adopt the European Code of good-practice in micro-finance. They have the potential to become a successful social economy model, very instrumental in providing affordable loans and safe saving and also contributing to local development through support for entrepreneurship and job creation. Our paper has as objective to describe and analyze the specificity of Romanian credit union model, that could be seen in the same time as a social innovation, with a big multiplier effect in economy and society, generating inclusive growth and development; an overview of the dynamics of the sector, considering the most recent available statistical data. The paper will include the preliminary research results of the project “ICAR - inclusion by micro-credit and mutual help - sustainable strategy of social economy for employment and creation of social enterprises”, financed by European Social Fund - Human Resources Operational Programme, ID 148102, regarding the general context of access to financial services in Romania, financial exclusion and over-indebtedness.

Suggested Citation

  • Cristina BARNA & Ancuta VAMEsU, 2015. "Credit Unions in Romania – a strong social enterprise model to combat financial exclusion and over indebtedness," CIRIEC Working Papers 1511, CIRIEC - Université de Liège.
  • Handle: RePEc:crc:wpaper:1511

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jones, Paul A., 2008. "From tackling poverty to achieving financial inclusion--The changing role of British credit unions in low income communities," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 2141-2154, December.
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    credit union; financial exclusion; social exclusion; social economy; mutual financial help; micro-credit;
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