Co-operative banks are banks incorporated in the legal form of cooperatives. Any cooperative society has to obtain a license from the Reserve Bank of India before starting banking business and has to follow the guidelines set and issued by the Reserve Bank of India. Currently, there are 68 co-operatives banks in India.

There are three types of co-operatives banks with different functions:

  1. Primary Credit Societies
  2. Central Co-operative Banks
  3. State Co-operative Banks

Primary Credit Societies:

Primary Credit Societies are formed at the village or town level with borrower and non-borrower members residing in one locality. The operations of each society are restricted to a small area so that the members know each other and are able to watch over the activities of all members to prevent frauds.

Central Co-operative Banks:

Central co-operative banks operate at the district level having some of the primary credit societies belonging to the same district as their members. These banks provide loans to their members (i.e., primary credit societies) and function as a link between the primary credit societies and state co-operative banks.

State Co-operative Banks:

These are the highest level co-operative banks in all the states of the country. They mobilize funds and help in its proper channelization among various sectors. The money reaches the individual borrowers from the state co-operative banks through the central cooperative banks and the primary credit societies.