Credit Union Cooperative Principles
- We Have Open and Voluntary Membership: Membership in a credit union is voluntary and open to all within the common bond who can use its services and are willing to accept the corresponding responsibilities. As owners, we do have responsibilities … to use the products and services that are appropriate to strengthen our cooperative. As employees, we have responsibilities to educate our members and to promote the appropriate products and services.
- We Are Democratically Controlled: Every member has one vote, regardless of the amount they have on deposit. In for-profit financial institutions, you vote based on your wealth.
- We are Non-Discriminatory: We don’t discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, gender, marital status, political affiliation, etc. We accept all people for who they are and welcome them into the cooperative.
- We Work to Improve the Social and Economic Well-Being of our Members: We serve a social mission outside of our fiduciary responsibilities as a financial institution.
- We Encourage Thrift: We actually have the responsibility of encouraging our members to save and borrow wisely. We encourage thrift through savings and, thus, pay a fair rate of interest on savings and other deposits. The surplus arising out of the operations of the credit union (after ensuring appropriate reserve levels and other necessary payments) belongs to and benefits all members. This surplus may be distributed among members in proportion to their transactions used to improve or add services required by the members.
- We Build Financial Stability Through Adequate Reserves: We must set aside earnings so that when we have economic downturns, loan charge-offs, new buildings, etc., we can weather the storm without closing our doors – this is how we ensure continued service to our membership.
- We Cooperative with Other Cooperatives: We work with other credit unions to ensure that our cooperative principles are working. We work together with our state, national, and international trade associations to serve our communities.
- We Seek to Bring About Human and Social Development: We are charged with a greater mission than just serving folks’ financial needs…that’s why it’s so important for us to be involved in our communities and giving back to our neighborhoods… Our vision of social justice extends both to the individual member and to the broader community within which the credit union and our members reside.