The co-operative banking sector says it emerged from the global financial crisis with its reputation enhanced.
A gathering in Wellington last week heard co-operatives globally weathered the storm better than most, and are lending more and drawing more people and firms into their fold.
The European Association of Cooperative Banks says some members suffered writedowns, but did not fail.
There are 4000 co-operative banks in Europe, with 60 million members and 180 million customers.
General manager Herve Guider said more people are signing up.
The Corporate AgriBusiness Banking Group in the United States is part of the $230 billion farm credit system, which supports rural America.
Senior vice president Jonathan Logan, formerly of North Canterbury, says CoBank's standing has been enhanced since its commercial rivals bailed.