Raiffeisen-Bank was formed as a cooperative of six local banks, while Boerenleenbank was a cooperative of 22 local banks. These two existed side by side for three-quarters of a century despite their obvious similarities. The reasons for this owed in part to legal disagreements. The most important difference, however, was cultural. The Eindhoven-based Boerenleenbank had a decidedly Catholic signature while the Raiffeisen-Bank had a Protestant background. In the past the Netherlands underwent a process of pillarisation (Dutch: verzuiling), which in practice meant that members of different religious congregations and political movements essentially lived side by side, without contact between the two. A consequence of this pillarisation was that many villages hosted not one but two local banks, one each for Catholics and Protestants. The close-knit community banking that resulted helped these banks to better control their risks. Consequently, when the Dutch banking sector was devastated by a financial crisis in the early 1920s, these local banks survived largely unscathed. The religious backgrounds found their way to their organisational structures, as well; Boerenleenbank was highly centralised, while Raiffeisen-Bank promoted local autonomy.