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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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Guest Post: The Second Principle - Democratic Member Control - by Nikki Ewing, GKCU

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Thursday, February 27, 2014
Updated: Thursday, February 27, 2014

Principle Two: Democratic member control. Each member has equal say in the operation of the credit union (one member, one vote).

(Editor’s note: Georgetown Kraft CU Marketing Director Nikki Ewing recaps the credit union's annual membership meeting, which took place February 24 in Georgetown.)

Chairman Dennis Loadholt presented
Anna Marsh with a 25 year service award
at the GKCU Annual Meeting.

A person’s financial institution should be as unique to them as their finances themselves.  For over 62 years, GKCU has showcased a unique financial experience where the members are the owners/shareholders and can actively participate, elect and demonstrate their one voice, one vote power at the annual membership  meeting.

Held February 24 at Georgetown Middle School, the annual meeting is an opportunity for the members to meet and review the financial condition and future plans for the credit union.

Chairman Dennis Loadholt opened the meeting by reviewing reports from the 2013 Annual Report including the Treasurer’s and Supervisory Committee reports which outlined the financial condition and internal and external audits of the credit union.

Chairman Loadholt reiterated to importance of democratic, member-owned structure of the credit union. Because of the loyalty and trust of its members, GKCU continued to provide a safe and stable financial option with saving, investment, and lending options in 2013. Finally, he commended the staff and volunteers for their commitment to service to the credit union members.  

Jeff Hardin, Director of Cooperative Initiatives for the Carolinas Credit Union League was the guest speaker for the meeting. He shared the fundamental principles of cooperatives and described each principle as it still adheres to the foundation of credit unions across our country and to the actions and services of GKCU. From the cooperative spirit to the democratic process to education and community service, he reviewed the ways that GKCU is a living example of the seven principles of cooperatives within the communities we serve today. He concluded that the members should be proud of the commitment GKCU has to credit union philosophy in all its day to day operations and one vote, one voice process.

Elections for several volunteer committees were held. The following volunteers were elected: Board of Directors: Raymond Pearigen, Patsy Ethridge and Richard Martin. (3-year terms); and Supervisory Committee: Wade Marsh (3-year term)

The evening included special staff recognitions and presentations. For their years of service to the credit union the following employees were recognized. For 25 years of service:  Anna Marsh, Loan Recovery Dept Manager.  For 15 years of service:  Alexa Jenkins, Operations Dept. Manager.  For 5 years of service:  David Graham, President, Charlene Leigh, Quality Services,  and Sherry Sutton,  Head Teller (Georgetown).  Nicole Tyson, Call Center Coordinator, was recognized as the 2014 Employee of the Year, as voted on by the employees. The evening concluded with door prizes and drawings for the members.

As outlined in the 2013 Annual Report, GKCU reported asset growth over $5 million, with member deposits growing more than $7 million and loans to members up by over $1 million.  GKCU welcomed over 1,500 new members and added new products like mortgage lending and shared branching. GKCU also outlined strong community involvement with over $36,000 in donations and sponsorship, as well as countless volunteer hours.  

GKCU is a full-service, member-owned financial cooperative where profits are returned to the members through lower rates on loans and higher returns on investments. GKCU offers a range of financial services and is open to anyone who lives, works or attends school in Georgetown and Williamsburg counties. GKCU employs over 50 staff and has four full-service branches. For information about joining or to view the annual report, visit our website at

Nikki Ewing has served as the Marketing Director for Georgetown Kraft Credit Union (GKCU) for the past 12 years. A graduate of the College of Charleston with a degree in Corporate Communications, Nikki began her career with the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce. From the time she moved to Georgetown County she fell in love with the history and the people, and her work at the credit union allows her to give back to the place she loves to call home and the people she loves to call neighbors. Her greatest passion is helping educate students and adults on the basics of money management to give them a strong foundation for future success. She is a strong advocate for the credit union "people helping people” philosophy and works hard to live up to the community partnerships that GKCU has formed over the past 62 years. She lives in Georgetown with her husband and 12 year old daughter.

Tags:  GKCU  Principle One  Principle Two 

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