What is a Co-operative

What is cooperative banking?

Cooperative banking is banking where profits have a higher purpose – they’re returned to you in the form of great rates, better service, and investments back into the communities where we work, live and play. Credit unions share your commitment to our communities - it’s part of our cooperative foundation.

Credit unions help to strengthen our communities through partnerships with local charities and not-for-profits, sponsorship of community events and projects, and youth student bursary and grant programs. We invest in the economic development of our communities by keeping money local and investing it back into our community through finance programs and other offerings. We value, support, and contribute to our community’s well being by providing financial literacy and education, offering value with low-fee and no-fee banking services and community accounts, providing friendly and helpful advice to assist our members through all life stages and embracing our cooperative philosophy through community involvement.

That’s just the beginning of what makes cooperative banking different! We’re committed to our valued members and helping them achieve their financial dreams. We believe that profits should benefit the people we’re here to serve. In other words - cooperative banking puts your needs first!

Seven Cooperative Principles

All cooperatives are based on seven core Cooperative Principles. These seven internationally accepted Cooperative Principles help shape credit union business decisions and governance, setting them apart from other financial institutions.  Canadian credit unions are affiliated with a respected, worldwide cooperative movement, and have a long history of reflecting their cooperative values in building stronger communities locally and abroad.  The following seven internationally accepted Co-operative Principles help shape credit union business decisions and governance, setting them apart from other financial institutions.

 1. Voluntary and Open Membership

Co-operatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political, or religious discrimination.

2. Democratic Member Control

Co-operatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. People serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary co-operatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and co-operatives at other levels are also organized in a democratic manner.

3. Member Economic Participation

Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their co-operative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the co-operative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes. developing their co-operative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the co-operative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.

4. Autonomy and Independence

Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter to agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their co-operative autonomy.

5. Education, Training, and Information

Co-operatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public - particularly young people and opinion leaders - about the nature and benefits of co-operation.

6. Co-operation among Co-operatives

Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional, and international structures.

7. Concern for Community

Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.

Source of Seven Co-operative Principles:  International Co-operative Alliance, the Canadian Credit Union Association

More Information

Below are links to some of the primary sources of information about cooperatives and credit unions in Canada. The Co-operative business model is an alternative to the competitive business model and is based upon mutual benefit and common values.

KCCU adheres to the seven principles and is a member of Central 1 Credit Union.

Canadian Credit Union Association

About Credit Unions - Canadian Credit Union Association (ccua.com)

https://ccua.com/about-credit-unions/why-join-a-credit-union/

Ontario Co-operative Association - https://ontario.coop/about-co-operatives

International Cooperative Alliance - https://www.ica.coop/en/cooperatives/what-is-a-cooperative

World Council of Credit Unions - Our Purpose | World Council of Credit Unions (woccu.org)

Canada’s Credit Unions - Canada’s Credit Unions – Own your bank, not the other way around. (canadascreditunions.ca)

Credit Unions and Deposit Insurance - Credit Unions and Deposit Insurance | Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (fsrao.ca)