Credit union staff from NC, Virginia, Tennessee and SC gathered in
Winston-Salem this week for the Principles & Philosophy Conference.
The conference provides credit union employees with a deep dive into the
history of the credit union movement and the principles
that differentiate them from banks.
Now in its fourth year, the Principles & Philosophy
Conference educates staff who may not be familiar with the cooperative
principles. "A new wave of talent is coming into the movement,so it is
important for staff have a clear understanding of how and why
cooperatives are different,” noted Jeff Hardin of the NC Credit Union
League. Conference facilitator Larry Blanchard of CUNA Mutual Group
summed up this thought nicely by noting, "When you don't know where
you've come from, any road will get you where you're going."
Blanchard was joined by Lois Kitsch of the National Credit Union
Foundation in facilitating the event at the Graylyn Conference Center.
Blanchard & Kitsch presented a thorough picture of the growth and
evolution of the cooperative and credit union movements, and shared the
nine operating principles that underpin the cooperative business model.
These nine principles are organized in three key areas – Democratic
Structure, Service to Members and Social Goals – and serve to
differentiate cooperatives from other business models.
Open and voluntary membership
- Democratic control
Service to Members
- Distribution to members
- Building financial stability
- Service to members
- Ongoing education
- Cooperation among cooperatives
- Social responsibility
Attendees were divided into seven groups and engaged one another in a
series of discussions and assignments aimed at integrating the
cooperative principles more fully into their work. The participants also
received tips on how they could share the cooperative principles at
their credit union, and ensure that fellow staff members were aware of
Prior to the cooperative principles work,Amy Gravitte (Coastal
and Ashley Ruffin (Local Government FCU)provided an in-depth look at
the history of the cooperative and credit union movements in the US and
world. Jeff Hardin of the NC Credit Union League also shared the events
and personalities that keyed the developmentof credit unions in
NC,including the founding of the Piedmont Credit Union (Landis, NC),
the first African American CU in the United States (1918).
"The League is committed to ensuring that the principles that make
credit unions unique will continue to light the road ahead,” said NCCUL
President/CEO John Radebaugh. The conference was planned and hosted by a
volunteer committee of Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs). "We
are deeply grateful to the CUDEs for their hard work in making this
conference such a remarkable success. Each of these volunteers is a
terrific reflection of the people helping people philosophy of credit