Thanks, Mr. Chair.
Thank you for being here today.
I would just like to follow on with the financial-type questions, because I think we're fortunate to have two financial institutions here that are involved in lending.
One of the repeated comments we've heard from a number of different witnesses concerns access to capital financing for co-ops. There's been sort of a general impression that co-ops are disadvantaged over perhaps small businesses when they go to seek loans. It seems to be, in a general sense, because there's a misunderstanding of what co-ops are. There's a misunderstanding of how they're organized, what their structure is, etc. My feeling is that it's probably a bit more than just a misunderstanding. My guess is that there might be some legalities involved here in terms of access to capital.
My question kind of follows up on a question I asked yesterday. If you have a small business, you don't have a lot of capital either. It's a high-risk endeavour for a bank, perhaps, or a lending institution to finance a small business. What I want to get a sense of, from each of your respective institutions, is whether you see co-ops as being disadvantaged in some way because they are co-ops. Or is it more that we assess risk based on a number of different factors, and those factors are applied equally as much as possible, whether it's a small business or a co-op? In other words, there's no sort of built-in institutional bias against co-ops just because they're co-ops. It's not that they don't understand co-ops, so are not lending to them.
Mr. Malli, I'll start with you, because as a co-op, you would understand co-ops. You would understand their structures. We've had some people say that yes, co-ops do help co-ops. But I'm assuming, as well, that there's very much a business decision made in terms of risk analysis, capital you have access to should something not work out well, etc. Perhaps you could comment on that.