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Seven Principles Blog
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In 1844, a small group of weavers from Rochdale, England created the blueprint for how their newly-formed cooperative would operate and serve the local community. These values, known as the Seven Cooperative Principles, serve as the operating guidebook for credit unions and cooperatives throughout the world. This blog was created to honor that legacy and to showcase the everyday efforts of credit unions in the Carolinas that embody the cooperative mission and purpose.


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League, credit unions produce Seven Cooperative Principles video

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Updated: Friday, June 19, 2015

The Carolinas Credit Union League joined forces with credit union voices from both Carolinas to create a Seven Cooperative Principles educational video. The video, produced by Understood Productions in Winston-Salem, made its debut on June 15 at the general session of the CCUL Annual Meeting.

The video uses a combination of storytelling styles to discuss each principle. "We wanted to create a video that would relate each of the Seven Cooperative Principles in terms that were more familiar," shared Jeff Hardin, League's director of cooperative initiatives. "Some of the people interviewed talked about the principles using stories or analogies, while others approached the principles in more concrete terms." 

The video will be used as one tool in an overall League strategy to educate credit union staff about the cooperative movement and the Seven Cooperative Principles that guide it. The League has a page on its web site dedicated to the Seven Cooperative Principles. These new elements join the Principles & Philosophy Conference and the League's customized principles training events as learning opportunities for staff and volunteers.

"The League believes that wider knowledge and application of the Seven Cooperative Principles is vital to the future success of the credit union movement," said Hardin. If you would like more information on the video or these training events, please contact Jeff Hardin at 919-457-9063.  


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Guest post: "best choice" by Family Trust FCU benefits community

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Principle Six: Concern for community. Credit unions work for the sustainable development of communities through policies developed and accepted by the members. Credit unions seek to achieve a greater good through responsible corporate citizenship. 

(Editor's note: Family Trust FCU held its 7th annual golf tournament in May, raising $31,000 for three non-profit agencies in York County. The following guest post, written by David Carriker, shares the impact of Family Trust on one of those agencies - The Boys & Girls Clubs of York County.)

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth. -- Muhammad Ali

You can choose to live your life in a manner that changes the world round you for good; you have made a good choice. You also can choose to bring others along to join you in that positive decision to make the world a better place; you have made a better choice. You can with others choose to make life better for those least able to stand against the tide of a harsh and challenging world; you then have made a best choice.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of York County reaches out to predominantly at-risk youth and teens because of a community that makes it possible by making best choices. Family Trust Federal Credit Union is a genuine leader in our community who leads the way in this “best choice” effort.

At the Boys & Girls Clubs of York County we serve youth and teens age 6 – 18 in after-school and out-of-school times during the academic year and summer. Our mission is to inspire and enable young people to realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens through a vision of providing a world-class club experience that assures success is within reach of every young person who enters our doors, with all members on track to graduate from high school with a plan for the future, demonstrating good character and citizenship, and living a healthy lifestyle.

To reach that target requires the support of community leaders. Not just in words, but critically in actions. Family Trust Federal Credit Union has taken action to heart through their annual charity golf tournament.

Along with two other local youth serving non-profits, the Boys & Girls Clubs of York County expanded our mission by the proceeds from this annual event. For the Clubs we are able to provide scholarship support for children and teens whose families could not afford to send their children to a safe and fun summer camp.

Family Trust makes it possible for kids to swim, play, make new friends, learn, and do all this in a safe environment each summer. The youth and teen members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of York County have a best friend in Family Trust Federal Credit Union.

As President John Quincy Adams said, "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” They lead the way.

David D. Carriker is the executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of York County. Carriker's career demonstrates a lifetime commitment to non-profit leadership and management in areas pertaining to youth services and services to at-risk and disadvantaged people. He previously served as a regional vice president and regional director of development for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta. He has also worked in Christian schools in Charlotte, NC and Cobb County, GA. He began his career in the Salvation Army.

Carriker has been married to wife Susan for 35 years. The Carrikers have two grown daughters.  

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NCUF video shares power of life simulation

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Tuesday, June 16, 2015

(Editor's note: the following information is provided by the National Credit Union Foundation.) 


The National Credit Union Foundation (the Foundation) has released a new video about Life Simulations to highlight the value of the experience for credit union professionals. This powerful video is comprised of attendee testimonials, staff insights and provides a glimpse into the simulation through onsite footage.

The Life Simulation experience is designed to help credit union employees, volunteers and leadership begin to understand what it might be like to live in a typical low-income family trying to survive from month to month. During the three hour experience, participants assume the roles of families who may be unemployed, homeless, or senior citizens living on disability raising grandchildren struggling to make ends meet.

At the end of the exercise, participants are more aware of the daily realities and hardships that many American families face. Walking in the shoes of another is a far more effective way to sensitize others to the needs of immigrants and other low-wage working families than from traditional diversity or classroom learning.

For more information on the Life Simulation, please contact Lois Kitsch at 407-616-2409. 

Tags:  Credit Unions  National CU Foundation 

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League offers customized Seven Principles training for credit unions

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Monday, June 08, 2015
Updated: Monday, June 08, 2015

For several years, the League has proudly sponsored and supported the Principles & Philosophy Conference, which is a two-day immersion in the history & philosophy of cooperatives & credit unions. While proving to be a tremendous success through the years, this conference provides a valuable educational opportunity to less than 50 credit union staff in the Carolinas each year.

In an effort to provide more credit union staff with training on the Seven Cooperative Principles, this year the League added a suite of training opportunities for presentation at local credit unions & chapters. These training events are fully customizable depending on the needs of your credit union's education & training department.

This training is critical in today's financial services world. "At first glance, credit unions & banks look a lot alike on the outside - and inside," said CCUL Director of Cooperative Initiatives, Jeff Hardin. "Most offer the same products & services, delivered through similar channels, to the people doing business with them.

"While credit unions & banks might seem similar, they are fundamentally different. The Seven Cooperative Principles are that fundamental difference."   

So far in 2015, more than 170 credit union staff in the Carolinas have received training on the cooperative principles. Training sessions have included hour-long introductory level sessions for front-line staff, all the way up to day-long, all staff training events.

"With a continual influx of talent on the front line and many seasoned professionals joining credit unions from the banking world, it's important that staff understand and appreciate just how credit unions are different," shared Hardin. "This difference should influence how members are treated on the front line, and how product decisions are made in the board room. Everyone can benefit from this knowledge and awareness." 

Principles & Philosophy training provided by the League is also very cost-effective, with a minimal donation to the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation requested along with travel expenses incurred for the event. For more information or to schedule Principles & Philosophy training at your credit union, please contact Jeff Hardin at 919-457-9063.

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Cooperative spirit boosts efforts at three credit unions

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Principle Six: Cooperation among cooperatives. Credit unions work together to improve services to members and build sustainable communities.

Generally when we think of cooperation among cooperatives, advocacy issues come to mind or supporting local initiatives like CUaware or the local chapter. However, SAFE FCU recently demonstrated another key tenet of Principle Six by donating eight teller cash dispensers to three credit unions. 

"This equipment will have a tremendous impact on our daily teller line operation," said Greater Abbeville FCU CEO Faye Crocker, whose credit union received one of the dispensers. With more than 8,000 lobby transactions per month, which averages to about 21 transactions per hour per teller, the dispensers will have a huge impact on front line operations at the $14 million credit union.  

"Not only does this lighten the cash counting load on the tellers, it reduces the need to replenish the teller drawers multiple times per day," a grateful Crocker shared. "At GAFCU, we fully believe in the principle of cooperation among cooperatives and we are very grateful to SAFE FCU for their support."

SAFE also gave six teller machines to Mid Carolina Credit Union, and one to Greenville Heritage FCU. "SAFE’s effort is another in a long line of examples where credit unions regularly work together for the benefit of all," shared Mid Carolina CU President/CEO Scott Conley. "As we grow we will strive to follow the example set by SAFE FCU."

Susan Allison, SAFE's VP of branch administration, shared that it is "the cooperative spirit among credit unions that makes us unique." Allison also hoped that all three credit unions would gain efficiency that would assist them in serving their members. 

Tags:  Principle Six 

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