Rural credit in the Bohemian crown lands of the Habsburg monarchy became available on a wide scale only after the abolition of serfdom in 1848. Although organized to serve municipal interests, savings banks and Schulze-Delitzsch credit cooperatives initially provided rural credit, primarily in the form of mortgage loans. Such local financial institutions embraced a social mission of aiding the poor and promoting small producers, while seeking to encourage economic modernization and Czech national revival. Strengthening the economic position of small agricultural producers fit in with both the socioeconomic and national motives of local financial institutions in the 1860s and 1870s. With the agricultural depression of the 1880s, however, agrarian leaders criticized credit cooperatives and savings banks for promoting urban interests over those of their rural customers, and new financial institutions, particularly Raiffeisen-type cooperatives, were founded in the 1890s and 1900s to better meet the credit needs of small farmers. These new cooperatives contributed to the growing political and economic integration of the peasantry into the Czech national life.

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