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Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen
Born May 3, 1818 (1818-05-03)
Hamm (Sieg), Germany
Died March 11, 1888 (1888-03-12)
Neuwied, Germany

Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen (May 3, 1818, Hamm (Sieg) - March 11, 1888, Heddesdorf, now in Neuwied, Germany) was a German cooperative leader.

Several credit union systems and cooperative banks have been named after Raiffeisen, who pioneered rural credit unions.



He was mayor of several towns: from 1845 he was mayor of Weyerbusch/Westerwald; from 1848 he was mayor of Flammersfeld/Westerwald; and finally he was mayor of Heddesdorf from 1852 until late 1865, when, at the age of 47, his worsening health cut his career short - he had caught typhus in 1863 during an epidemic during which his wife had died.[1]


Raiffeisen conceived of the idea of cooperative self-help during his tenure as the young mayor of Flammersfeld. He was inspired by observing the suffering of the farmers who were often in the grip of loansharks. He founded the first cooperative lending bank, in effect the first rural credit union in 1864.

Organizations named for Raiffeisen

Several credit unions are named after Raiffeisen:

  • Raiffeisen Zentralbank, RZB, a cooperative bank based in Austria, and operating in Eastern Europe
  • Bundesverband der Deutschen Volksbanken und Raiffeisenbanken, a federation of Raiffeisen cooperatives in Germany
  • Schweizer Verband der Raiffeisenbanken, the federation of Raiffeisen cooperative banks in Switzerland
  • Raiffeisen Romania, the Romanian Raiffeisen Zentralbank branch
  • Rabobank, officially Co√∂peratieve Centrale Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank B.A., cooperative banking system in the Netherlands
  • Banque Raiffeisen, Luxembourg

See also

External links



1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

FRIEDRICH WILHELM RAIFFEISEN (1818-1888), founder of the German system of agricultural co-operative banks, was 1 The preamble to the Foreign Enlistment Act 1870 stated that its object was "to make provision for the regulation of the conduct of Her Majesty's subjects during the existence of hostilities between foreign states with which Her Majesty is at peace." This preamble was repealed by the Statutes Law Revision (No. 2) Act 1893.

2 R. v. Sandoval, 1886, 56 Law Times, 526.

a R. V. Jameson, 1896, 2 Q.B., 425.

born at Hamm on the Sieg on the 30th of March 1818, being the son of Gottfried Raiffeisen, burgomaster of that place. Educated privately, he entered the artillery in Cologne, but defective eyesight compelled him to leave the army. He then entered the public service at Coblenz, and in 1845 was appointed burgomaster of Weyerbusch. Here he was so successful that in 1848 he was transferred in a like capacity to Flammersfeld, and in 1852 to Heddersdorf. Raiffeisen devoted himself to the improvement of the social condition of the cultivators of the soil, and did good work in the planning of public roads and in other ways. The distress of the years 1846-47, the causes of which he discerned in the slight amount of credit obtainable by the small landed proprietors, led him to seek for a remedy in co-operation, and at Heddersdorf and at Weyerbusch he founded the first agricultural co-operative loan banks (Darlehnskassenverein). These banks were called after him, and their foundation resulted in a widespread system of land banks, supported by the government. In 1865 the state of his health compelled him to retire, but he continued to take an interest in the movement he had originated, and in 1878 he founded at Neuwied a periodical, Das landwirtschaftlicheGenossenscha ftsblatt. He died on the iith of March 1888.

Among Raiffeisen's writings are, Die Darlehnskassenvereine als Mittel zur Abhilfe (Neuwied, 1866; new ed., 1887); Anleitung zur Geschditsand Buchfiihrung ldndlichen Sparand Darlehnskassenvereine (new ed., 1896); and Kurze Anleitung zur Griindung von Darlehnskassenvereinen (new ed., 1893). See A. Wattig, Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen (1890); H. W. Wolff, People's Banks. A Record of Social and Economic Success (1895); and Fassbender, Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen (Berlin, 1902).

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