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Dear SOCNET members,

I am trying to formulate a proposal on how people in local communities are involved in bank-membership and become member customers in small and medium sized banks that display the characteristics of local economies (mostly in Europe, the Mediterranean and not only).
The membership affiliation-tie starts as "to bank where they know you and you can contribute" and evolved in a reasonable competitive market in which different regions compet for their local communities to make their memebers "self-sufficient". This is the case of Greece, where in one region Crete you can find the two biggest cooperatives with an "ownership" of about 100,000 individual members and 70 branches allover the island, especially in rural and subrurban areas where banking is the social transaction: "to meet, greet, shop, engage and confirm a sense of belonging, contributing and fulfillment" towards a dynamic self-sufficieny status, that attracts local communities in their "own" lands. Is there a social capital component is in these preferences? Why a member in not always a rational customer but in most cases a loyal one?

Do you have any references on relevant studies (for Credit Unions, for how preferences become values and social ties etc)?

Thank you.

Theodore Katerinakis
Graduate student at Drexel University (PA, USA)

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