Principle #2: Democratic Member Control

The second of the 7 Cooperative Principles for Credit Unions is the principle of democratic member control.

That’s right – a credit union is a democracy. Every credit union member has equal opportunity for participation in setting policies and making decisions, regardless of the size of their accounts.  One member = one vote.  That’s pretty powerful stuff.

 Although there’s a day-to-day management structure that is not democratically elected, the Board of Directors for any credit union is made up of member volunteers. These representatives are democratically elected by all of your members (or at least the ones who vote!) to represent the best interests of the credit union membership as a whole.  Some credit unions also have junior boards to give younger members a way to get involved.

Do your employees understand this democratic principle and explain it to members?  How active are your members in the democratic process?  In some cases, increasing awareness of this principle and involvement in credit union elections might be as simple as making sure your members know that they have a vote and when elections are taking place. In other cases, you might have to do some work internally first. If your current employee culture doesn’t include an emphasis on teamwork and democracy in decision making, it could hinder your employees in communicating this credit union difference to members.

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