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The Cooperative Principles

coop principles
As a financial cooperative credit unions, like other cooperatives around the world, generally operate according to the same seven principles adopted in 1995 by the International Cooperative Alliance, and an eighth principle adopted by CUNA in 2019 and The League Board of Directors in 2020.

1. Voluntary and Open Membership

Cooperatives are formed by people looking for solutions to shared problems. They are open to all who use or provide their services and are willing to accept the responsibilities of membership.

2. Democratic Member Control

Cooperatives are controlled by those who use or provide the co-op's goods and services. Each member gets one vote to help make the organization's policies and decisions.

3. Member Economic Participation 

Members equally "buy in" and democratically control the cooperative's capital based on the amount of business they conduct rather than the dollars they invest.

4. Autonomy and Independence 

Cooperatives are independent, self-help organizations. If a co-op enters into an outside agreement or raises external capital, it still retains autonomy and democratic control.

5. Education, Training, and Information

Cooperatives train their members, directors, and employees so they can best contribute to the co-op's development. They also educate the general public about cooperatives.

6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives

Cooperatives work together through strong local, national, regional, and international structures to most effectively serve their members.

7. Concern for Community

Cooperatives focus on local development through policies and programs directed by their members.

8. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Cooperatives recognize that they have a responsibility to take a leadership role in building and serving more diverse, equitable and inclusive communities.