Kasy Stefczyka - czyli raiffeisenowska spółdzielczość kredytowa w rolnictwie chłopskim Polski niepodległej (1919- 1939).
The study is a continuation of an analysis of operation of the credit unions of the Fryderyk W. Reiffeisen type, whose activity on the Polish territories was initiated by Dr Franciszek Stefczyk under the Austrian occupation in 1890. In free Poland those unions were called Stefczyk’s Savings and Loan Banks in recognition of his merits. Apart from the change of name, their status and terms of operation also changed. The previous unlimited fmancial liability of the co-operatives was superseded by liability with the members’ shares. The scope of activities was expanded beyond savings and loans. The support of the State was limited, and while it retained its share in the initial Capital of the central bank of those co-operatives, it withdrew its contribution to cover part of the administrative costs. Although the nontransferability of member shares, the indivisibility of the initial Capital, the Iow interest ratę of the credits, and the rules of determining and distributing dividends were confirmed, the increasing costs caused broadening the commercialisation of the activities of the cooperatives. Nevertheless, they kept their naturę of credit institutions for smali and mediumsize farms. For that reason they did not expand considerably in the territories dominated by high-volume of specialised farming (Greater Poland). In 1938, Stefczyk’s credit unions gathered about 20% of peasant farm owners, the amount of their deposits in the central fund was over 7 million zlotys, the credit balance was circa 3.3 million zlotys, while the members’ savings were close to 1.2 million zlotys. Stefczyk’s credit unions also fulfilled an important role in the dissemination of knowledge of the savings and loan rules among the members of the social group which was most handicapped, thus protecting them against usury and negatively influencing the interest rates on the private credit market. Their strongest enemy proved to be the instability of currency, which was practically unknown before 1914, and which under the new circumstances ąuestioned the sense of saving. For that reason, smali producers outside of farming sustained serious losses, and it was actually they who most often deposited their surplus cash in Stefczyk’s credit unions, through which the working Capital was supplied to farmers.