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Kredietunie en de Vereniging Samenwerkende Kredietunies (VSK) (Credit Union)


Due to the sharpened credit policies of banks, it has become increasingly difficult for small businesses to obtain financing. Because of these rigid lending standards a growing number of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) does no longer have access to loans. At the same time there are businesses with means available to invest. The Dutch Kredietunie (credit union) wants to bring both parties together. Kredietunies are not-for-profit co-operative organizations that exist to serve their members rather than to maximize corporate profits.  Kredietunies focus on providing a safe place to save and borrow money at reasonable rates without interference of a bank.


Kredietunies are member-owned, democratically-run credit associations with excluded liability in which small businesses (its members) offer each other financial assistance via a mutual cash fund. Members of a Kredietunie are united in a common bond- they must either live or work in the same locality (community bond) or work in the same occupation (associational bond).


In The Netherlands the development of the first Kredietunies started in 2010, internationally credit unions have existed for some time (USA, UK, Poland, Ireland and Rumania) and have acquired a considerable position in the market. In 2014 120 requests were received in The Netherlands alone to develop a Kredietunie: 53 from associational bonds and 67 from regional and local entrepreneurs (community bonds).


Every Kredietunie gives out shares to build financial equity. Member-shareholders are only liable up to the balance on their share account. Each member has an equal say in the running of the Kredietunie, irrespective of the savings he or she holds. Each member has only one vote, which can be exercised at the Annual General Meeting (AGM). Every member can put him or herself forward for election to the Board or committees.


A Kredietunie is owned by and run for its members. Instead of paying out earnings to external shareholders, Kredietunies use the money they earn to improve services and reward their members. Because solidarity, risk and rewards are spread, entrepreneurs can responsibly save, lend or borrow money at reasonable rates. This way of working improves mutual solidarity. Members who lend money regularly work as coach for those who borrow money, who are often start-up colleague-entrepreneurs. The coaching process enlarges the chances of success. Unlike banks, Kredietunies return surplus income to all their members in the form of dividends.


The Board (and often the initiators of Kredietunies) are entrepreneurs. Trade organizations and governments (local, provincial) are often closely involved when new Kredietunies arise.


De Vereniging van Samenwerkende Kredietunies (VSK)

The Association of Cooperating Credit Unions

The primary goal of The Vereniging Samenwerkende Kredietunies (VSK) is to create more possibilities for cooperative financial services to small and medium-sized businesses in The Netherlands. VSK undertakes the following activities to reach its goal:

  • Help organizations to start-up a Kredietunie and help increase the grow of existing Kredietunies.
  • Promote the increase of knowledge and exchange of knowledge between members of Kredietunies by developing tools and by closing mutual contracts with external service providers.
  • Realization of a quality label for Kredietunies by developing a quality frame work and monitoring the quality of its members.
  • Be the face and mouth-piece of the member Kredietunies that have joined.
  • Lobbying, especially towards politics and the Dutch National Bank for better conditions and infrastructure for Kredietunies.

VSK develops manuals and documentation about the granting of credit and on coaching. VSK also has the necessary judicial documentation about setting up a Kredietunie.


Candidate-members get support from VSK about setting up their Kredietunie. New initiators of Kredietunies can register as a candidate-member with VSK.


VSK quality frame work

The quality frame work that the association has developed, serves to guarantee the service by Kredietunies. To become an official member of VSK, the service of a Kredietunie has to comply with this frame work. The Association helps candidate-members to comply with the demands of the frame work. The frame work has rules about for instance the governance and operational processes in the Kredietunie, the way information is given to stakeholders and about risk management.


The frame work is set up according to the guidelines of the ‘European code of good conduct for microfinance’. This code links with the ‘International Credit Union Safety and Soundness Principles’ of the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU); an organization that counts more than 56,904 credit unions in 103 countries, with 207 million individual members. WOCCU has also set up an extensive network in developing countries to - often starting with micro financing - set up local credit unions. WOCCU works together with the World Bank and regional developing banks.


The full code of good conduct can be found here:


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Type of initiative Knowledge/advice organization, Information/network organization
Field of work Financial services
Date of commencement 2013
Founder(s) R.R. Lampe is via his consultancy L&A Lampe & Associates BV founder of the ASsociation of credit unions in The Netherlands and of the Credit Union BV
Legal form Association
Continent Europe
Country Netherlands
City Delft
One or several keywords that describe your initiative invest, loan, cooperative, member-owned, credit, financial services
Publications manuals, documentation, judicial documents. Furthermore the credit Union Works with frame Works, toolkits, manuals, examples and documents
More information

Contact person(s)

Georgina Friederichs, managing-director


Contact information

Name Vereniging van Samenwerkende Kredietunies (VSK)
Address Oosterstraat 25
Zip/postal code 2611 TT
State/province Zuid-Holland
Country The Netherlands
Phone +31-625087429



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