The Hands and Globe logo has symbolic and historic significance for the Credit Union Movement. The cupped hands symbolize both the financial security and support offered by the international Credit Union network, as well as the fact that the success of the Movement is in the hands of its members. The globe symbolize the worldwide scope of the Movement and suggests the impact that a truly united Movement can have on the financial development of all countries. The people within the globe represent the real focus of the Credit Union Movement. It is the human element – the harmony of people working for people – that distinguishes Credit Unions from other financial institutions.
A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically controlled enterprise.
A Credit Union is a co-operative financial institution, that is owned and controlled by its members and operated for the purpose of promoting thrift, providing credit at reasonable rates, and providing other financial services to its members.
Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.
1st Principle: Voluntary and Open Membership
Co-operatives are voluntary organisations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership without gender, social, racist, political or religious discrimination.
2nd Principle: Democratic Member Control
Co-operatives are democratic organisations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women 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 organised in a democratic manner.
3rd Principle: 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 surplus 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.
- Benefitting members in proportion to their transactions with the co-operative.
- Supporting other activities approved by the membership.
4th Principle: Autonomy and Independence
Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organisations, controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organisations, 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.
5th Principle: 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-operatives.
6th Principle: 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.
7th Principle: Concern for Community
Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.