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195. Four Thousand Three Hundred Kilometers of Credit

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Coop Name: Cooperativa del Personal de la Universidad de Chile Coopeuch Limitada N° of Employees: 1820
City: Santiago N° of Members: 519728
Country: Chile Year of formation: 1967
Website: http://www.coopeuch.cl Twitter: Link
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About this coop:

Coopeuch is a banking and credit cooperative created at the University of Chile in 1967. It has 86 branches and more than 500,000 members in the public and private sector, making it one of the largest cooperative banks in Latin America. Coopeuch develops social and educational programs to benefit its members and the community at large.

Bounded by some of the earth’s most dramatic landscapes, Chile, a thin lance of land, stretches four thousand three hundred kilometers down the western edge of South America. The trembling, volcanic Andean Cordiera, home to some of the highest peaks in the world, forms the country’’s eastern border. To the west, large cold Pacific Ocean waves stop the land. In the north lies the Atacama Desert, the driest place on earth. And the country’’s southern most point is Tierra del Fuego, kilometers of rock and ice that reach across the Straits of Magellan as if trying to reach Antarctica.

The thriving Cooperativa del Personal de la Universidad de Chile Credit Union (Coopeuch) manages branches from edge to edge of these remarkable boarders. Growing like the Andes themselves, the Credit Union is a story of ongoing success. Founded in 1967 by and for the employees of the university in the capital city of Santiago, now one out of every thirty Chileans is a member of the credit union. Beyond simple checking and savings accounts, the cooperative offers business loans, mortgages, and micro-lending for small businesses. It was the first credit union in the country to offer MasterCard credit to members.

Comparing Coopeuch to its competitors demonstrates the cooperative’s growth. In terms of the consumer loan market, this once fledgling organization now stands as the fifth strongest financial institution in Chile. Among all of the country’s banking institutions it is tenth in profitability making Coopeuch Chile’s principal credit union.

More than its financial success, however, the credit union prides itself on its many contributions to the betterment of members’ lives. The cooperative supports higher-level education through grants, bonds, and scholarships for members and their families. Coopeuch also sponsors libraries, youth orchestras, and a range of cultural events that feature national artists.

Through this focus on financial and social sustenance, Coopeuch encourages healthy, productive lives from end to end of this unique land.

Author of this story
Kathryn Kruse
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