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Seven Principles Blog highlights cooperative nature of Carolina credit unions

Wednesday, January 08, 2014   (0 Comments)
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The Rochdale Pioneers, a small group of weavers in England, drafted the Seven Cooperative Principles
in 1844. (Photo courtesy of the Rochdale Pioneers.)


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. Little did they know their efforts would not only survive, but go on to become the values that cooperatives would live by in the centuries to come.

These values, known as the Seven Cooperative Principles, serve as the operating guidebook for credit unions and cooperatives throughout the world. The principles have been modified through the years but remain very close in spirit to those originally envisioned so long ago.

To honor the legacy of the Rochdale Weavers and call attention to the ways that Carolina credit unions continue to honor these principles in their day-to-day operations, the Carolinas Credit Union League (CCUL) created the Seven Principles Blog. "The Seven Principles Blog showcases the everyday efforts of credit unions in the Carolinas to honor their cooperative mission and purpose," said CCUL Director of Cooperative Initiatives Jeff Hardin.

The blog structure includes a news item shared by the credit union, and identifies which of the Seven Cooperative Principles is being followed in the process. In addition to demonstrating that credit unions remain true to their roots, the blog serves as an educational tool as well. "Credit union staff, consumers, policy makers, and members of the media will also get a glimpse of what makes credit unions unique in the financial services marketplace," shared Hardin.

A recent example includes a post sharing that Premier FCU returned a share of its earnings to members in a special year-end dividend. Another is the recent announcement from Piedmont Advantage CU (PACU) that Charlotte-area members of an out-of-state credit union exercised the right to democratic control of their cooperative by voting to merge with PACU.

The Seven Cooperative Principles are periodically reviewed and updated by the International Cooperative Alliance. Listed below are the current principles and their meaning:

  • Voluntary and open membership. Membership is open to all people who are eligible to join the credit union, without exception.
  • Democratic member control. Each member has equal say in the operation of the credit union (one member, one vote).
  • Member economic participation. The more members use the credit union, the more both the members and the cooperative benefit.
  • Autonomy and independence. Credit union members elect board members who set policy. Relationships with outside companies are developed with the understanding that members control the cooperative.
  • Education, training, and information. Credit unions provide financial education to their members as well as the communities they serve.
  • Cooperation among cooperatives. Credit unions work together to improve services to members and build sustainable communities.
  • Concern for community. Since credit unions are locally owned financial institutions, they are committed to investing in the community.

To visit the blog and see all the current postings, please click here. If you have an item to submit for the Seven Principles Blog, please contact Jeff Hardin (800) 822-8859, ext. 9063.