The International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) was founded in London, England on 19 August 1895 during the 1st Alliance Co-operative Congress. The delegates from co-operatives from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, England, Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, India, Italy, Switzerland, Serbia, and the USA. were present. The representatives established the Alliance's aims to provide information, define and defend the Co-operative Principles and develop international trade. The Alliance was one of the only international organisations to survive both World War I and World War II. Overcoming all the political differences between its members was extremely difficult, but the Alliance survived by staying committed to peace, democracy, and by remaining politically neutral. The Alliance confirms its political neutrality in 1896.
1922 - The Alliance established a first ever committee called "International Co-operative Banking Committee” (ICBC). Today it is known as the International Co-operative Banking Association (ICBA), sectoral organisation of ICA regrouping co-operative banks and other financial institutions. ICBC in 1922, had initially membership from 7 European consumer cooperative banks. In 1964 membership was opened to all cooperative banks and central cooperative credit organizations directly or indirectly affiliated to International Co-operative Alliance (ICA), of which it is a specialized body. Following 28th ICA Congress, 1984, Hamburg (Germany FR), ICBC became an international specialized organization of ICA, with the title ICA Central Banking Committee - also sometimes referred to as International Association of Cooperative Banks –The present name of the International Co-operative Banking Association (ICBA), a sectoral organisation of the Alliance regrouping co-operative banks and other financial institutions was adopted in 1992.
Exchange information; promote cooperation among cooperative banks; advise and assist the development of new cooperative banks; carry out studies and research on subjects of common interest - capital formation, cooperative values as applied to banking.
ICBA shall be representative of co-operative financial institutions and co-operative banks, affiliated, directly or indirectly, to the International Co-operative Alliance, hereinafter referred to as ICA.
The ICBA shall initiate and encourage worldwide discussion and constructive resolution of the crucial issues that face co-operative financial institutions. It shall disseminate best practices amongst members and encourage co-operation between them.
The ICBA shall organize, collect, process and render the information on activity of ICBA and world’s co-operative banking subjects in a way to make possible a fast, efficient and active access to these data for ICBA members and other authorized organizations, especially the ICA and other co-operative organizations.
The ICBA shall set up and promote Regional Banking Committees hereinafter referred to as “RBCs”, covering different geographical areas as required by its members to act as a forum for discussion of regional and worldwide co-operative banking issues and questions.