International Credit Union Operating Principles

   This document has been made available in electronic format  
     by the World Council of Credit Unions and the Committee 
     for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives COPAC


                   Democratic Structure

Open and Voluntary Membership

Membership in a credit union is voluntary and open to all within
the accepted common bond of association that can make use of its
services and are willing to accept the corresponding

Democratic Control

Credit union members enjoy equal rights to vote (one member, one
vote) and participate in decisions affecting the credit union,
without regard to the amount of savings or deposits or the volume
of business. Voting in credit union support organizations or
associations may be proportional or representational, in keeping
with democratic principles. The credit union is autonomous,
within the framework of law and regulation, recognizing the
credit union as a cooperative enterprise serving and controlled
by its members. Credit union elected offices are voluntary in
nature and incumbents should not receive a salary. However,
credit unions may reimburse legitimate expenses incurred by
elected officials.  


Credit unions are non-discriminatory in relation to race,
nationality, sex, religion, and politics.  

Service to Members

Service to Members Credit unions services are directed to improve
the economic and social well-being of all members.  

Distribution to Members

To encourage thrift through savings and thus to provide loans and
other services, a fair rate of interest is paid on savings and
deposits, within the capability of the credit union. The surplus
arising out of the operations of the credit union after ensuring
appropriate reserve levels and after payment of limited dividends
on permanent equity capital where it exists, belongs to and
benefits all members with no member or group of members
benefiting to the detriment of others. This surplus may be
distributed among members in proportions to their transactions
with the credit union as interest or patronage refunds, or
directed to improved or additional services required by the

Building Financial Stability

A prime concern of the credit union is to build the financial
strength, including adequate reserves and in  Social Goals  [CU
Operating Principles Cube graphic] On-Going Education Credit
unions actively promote the education of their members, officers,
and employees, along with the public in general, in the economic,
social, democratic, and mutual self-help principles of credit
unions. The promotion of thrift and the wise use of credit, as
well as education on the rights and responsibilities of members,
are essential to the dual social and economic character of credit
unions in serving member needs.  

Cooperation Among Cooperatives

In keeping with their philosophy and the pooling practices of
cooperatives, credit unions within their capability actively
cooperate with other credit unions, cooperatives and their
associations at local, national, and international levels in
order to best serve the interests of their members and their

Social Responsibility

Continuing the ideals and beliefs of the cooperative pioneers,
credit unions seek to bring about human and social development.
Their vision of social justice extends both to the individual
members and to the larger community in which they work and
reside. The credit union ideal is to extend service to all who
need and can use it. Every person is either a member or a
potential member and appropriately part of the credit union
sphere of interest and concern. Decisions should be taken with
full regard for the interest of the broader community within
which the credit union and its members reside. 
These Credit Union Operating Principles are founded in the
philosophy of cooperation and its central values of equality,
equity, and mutual self-help. Recognizing the varied practices
in the implementation of credit union philosophy around the
world, at the heart of these principles is the concept of human
development and the brotherhood of man expressed through people
working together to achieve a better life for themselves and
their community.  

            World Council of Credit Unions, Inc. 
    approved 24 August, 1984 by WOCCU Membership Council.