An economic enterprise faces two, related, problems: effectively managing its activities and communicating to outsiders that it is, in fact, well run. The credit cooperative movement that grew up in Germany in the second half of the nineteenth century had to wrestle with both. These cooperatives thrived, in part, because they adopted strategies first to obtain and then to harness the information they needed about the communities in which they were located, giving them an advantage over other lenders. Particularly effective was the tactic of using local people as managers, which helped to cement their ties with the community. Yet because few, if any, locals had banking experience and most were not even familiar with basic accounting methods, the managers created internal management problems, intensifying outside suspicion of the cooperatives as banking enterprises. The methods the cooperatives developed to overcome these problems drew on a combination of local initiative and regional assistance that was typical of the movement as a whole. The movement's ability to train its own talent suggests that it had a broader impact than has been captured by statistics on its membership or financial assets.