The Cooperative Principles and What We Stand For
Credit Unions are not “just another financial institution”. The operating groundwork of credit unions is guided by a list of essential cooperative principles. The origin of the cooperative principles can be traced back to the modern cooperative founded in 1844 by a group of weavers in Rochdale, England coming together to solve a pressing community need – access to affordable, healthy food. Their efforts created seven operating principles that were formally adopted by the International Cooperative Alliance in 1995.
The principles continue to grow and evolve to meet the credit union movement, its members and the communities of today. In 2019 the Credit Union National Association and National Credit Union Foundation adopted a board resolution to support diversity, equity and inclusion as a shared credit union cooperative principle, adding it as the eight cooperative principle in the credit union movement.
The Cooperative Principles are the core of everything we do.
HOW WE LIVE THE COOPERATIVE PRINCIPLES
- Voluntary and Open Membership:
We stand for the financial well-being of all people. Credit Unions are voluntary, not-for-profit financial cooperatives, open to all people willing to accept the responsibilities and benefits of membership – without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.
- Democratic Member Control
We stand for the belief that money does not equal power. Credit Unions are democratic organizations owned and controlled by their members, one member one vote, with equal opportunity to participate in setting policies and making decisions.
- Member Economic Participation
We stand for reciprocating trust. Members are the owners. They contribute to, and democratically control the capital of the cooperative. Members, not corporate stockholders, benefit from their credit union’s profits in proportion to the extent of their financial transactions and general usage.
- Autonomy and Independence
We stand for transparency. Credit Unions are independent, self-reliant organizations controlled by their members, not outside stockholders.
- Education, Training & Information
We stand for developing educated and well-informed citizens. Credit Unions provide financial education for members, and training for all volunteers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of the cooperative.
- Cooperation Among Cooperatives
We stand for unity. Credit Unions serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working with other cooperatives through local, state, regional, national and international structures.
- Concern for Community
We stand for, and with, our communities. Credit Unions work for the sustainable develop of their communities, through policies approved by their members.
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
We stand for empowering through empathy. Credit unions seek to incorporate diversity, perform equitably and ensure inclusion at all levels of their organization to better serve members and their community.