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Credit Unions:




Š 2020 Barbados Co-operative & Credit Union League Ltd. (BCCULL) All rights reserved. No part of these materials may be reproduced in any form, or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or any information storage or retrieval system without prior permission from BCCULL. Exception: Credit Union International Operating Principles.

Credit Unions: More Than Money

written by: Marisa Marshall, ICUDE, Training Officer, BCCULL For More Information: Barbados Co-operative & Credit Union League Ltd. 1st Floor Cooperators General Insurance BLG Upper Collymore Rock, St. Michael Tel: 246-429-7075 Email: mmarshall@barbadoscoopleague.org www.barbadoscoopleague.org


WELCOME to the Credit Union Movement!

Credit Unions are financial cooperatives built on simple yet powerful ideas.

“People Matter More than Dollars” In this booklet we’ll share; Why We’re Different................................................................................. 6 Our Values............................................................................................................ 8 Our Ways of Keeping............................................................................ 9 Your Money Safe

How We Work Together................................................................. 10 to Achieve Your Dreams

How You Benefit from.......................................................................... 11 Joining A Credit Union

Our International Operating Principles..................... 12

Our Promise to You................................................................................. 17




Credit Unions are owned by you – “the member”.

Our attitude is simple – people matter more than profits. We’re here for your benefit, we aim to provide high-quality financial services at a fair price.

Our volunteer board and statutory committees are elected by you the members at AGM and each committee must present a report to members.

We don’t judge you by how much money you have. As long as you’re a member you have a say and you have a vote on who should be elected to the Board of Directors and statutory committees.

Not only can you elect a Director or a Committee member but we provide training so that you can become a Director or Committee Member.

We report to you! An annual general meeting is held to bring you up to date on the progress the credit union has made and to give you an opportunity to share your opinions and ask questions.

We are a not-for-profit cooperative working to uplift you and your community!

Compare us to the others and we’ll win every time! Our success is in our structure.

Annual General Meeting (AGM)


CREDIT COMMITTEE (Elected by Members)

BOARD OF DIRECTORS (Elected by Members)



Credit Unions vs

The Others

Ownership Members are Owners

Customers are not owners

Focus Caring for Members Not-For-Profit

Getting Customers for Profit

Decisions Made by members to benefit members

Made for stockholder benefits

Profits Distributed to members

Distributed to stockholders




Your credit union believes in being people centered. We have strong cooperative values that keep our attention focused on you and your success. Our values are easy to remember, just think

S E E D S S Equity



Equality Self-Help

Member Success



Self-help: we help you to help yourself access financial services.

Equality: as long as you’re a member you have one vote no matter how much money is in your account.

Equity: we treat you fairly and without bias.

Democracy: we give you a say in how your credit union is run.

Solidarity: we work together to achieve our 8 common goals.

Self-responsibility: we make sure that you are accountable for your actions.

OUR WAYS OF KEEPING YOUR MONEY SAFE As a credit union member, your money is safe with us because we’ve gone through a number of steps to make sure you are protected. •

We are legally registered under Cooperative Societies Act. No. 23 (CAP. 378A) and the Cooperative Societies Regulations 2008 and regulated by the Financial Services Commission.

We have a Board of Directors and statutory committees (credit and supervisory) all of whom work together to make sure that by-laws, polices and procedures are developed and followed.

We provide training for existing and potential committee members.

We set up reserves for your protection.

We are audited (examined) both internally and externally at least once every year.

We provide training for you in managing your personal finances - budgeting, managing credit and even making investments.


HOW WE WORK TOGETHER TO ACHIEVE YOUR DREAMS We all have dreams – to own a business, to travel, to go to university, to own “a piece of the rock”, to buy a car, to have a family etc. As a member of a Credit Union (CU), you have become a member of a larger family working to help ourselves achieve our various dreams! You Join A Credit Union (CU)

Your Money is Pooled with Other Members

Your CU charges a fair rate for Loans & Savings

Your CU Provides Educational and Leadership Opportunities

Your CU Builds Reserves for Safety and Covers Operational Expenses

When your CU makes a profit, you are paid Bonuses e.g Dividends or Patronage Refunds

You Achieve Dreams

Your Community Becomes A Better Place to Live, Work & Play!


HOW YOU BENEFIT FROM JOINING A CREDIT UNION Credit Unions invest in you in a number of ways. As members are owners, you have a say in the products and services offered by your credit union. Each credit union offers different products and services but generally you will find that; •

Members like yourself have worked to create access to affordable and reliable financial services which may include: • • • • •

Savings and Investment Accounts Personal and Business Loans Financial Advice Services Payment Services Business Development Services

Members have the opportunity to attend Educational and Training sessions ranging from Credit Union Operations, to Leadership Growth to Generating Wealth.

Members govern the credit union to make sure that any profits can be given back in the form of lower fees and higher savings rates.


OUR INTERNATIONAL CREDIT UNION OPERATING PRINCIPLES As a credit union member, you are now part of a global network. That’s right around the world credit unions are found on six (6) continents! There are over 85, 000 credit unions in approx. 118 countries making up over 274 million households and over 1 billion members. No matter where a credit union is located, we all follow the same operating principles to guarantee that we are consistently improving the lives of our members. We have ten (10) international operating principles which fall into three (3) categories.

Cooperative Structure Member Owned Member Controlled Democratic Control

Service to Members Financial Inclusion Financial Sustainability Maximizing Member Economic Benefit

Social Responsibility Financial Literacy Network Cooperation Community Responsibility Global Vision


Cooperative Structure 1. Member Owned - Credit unions and other

cooperative financial institutions are owned by the consumers who use their services. All members are owners of the cooperative financial institution. The credit union is an autonomous private enterprise, within the framework of law and regulation, recognizing the credit union as a cooperative, serving and controlled by its members.

2. Member Controlled - Credit unions and

other financial cooperatives are democratic organizations which are controlled by their members who actively participate in electing their board representatives and participating in the governance of the institutions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership.

3. 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. The one member one vote principle is designed to ensure that the cooperative institution responds to the demands of its


wider membership. Voting in credit union support organizations or associations may be proportional or representational, in keeping with democratic principles.

Service to Members 4. Financial Inclusion - Membership in a

credit union is voluntary and open to all within the accepted common bond of association and are willing to accept the corresponding responsibilities. Credit unions and other cooperative financial institutions are nondiscriminatory, on all grounds, including but not limited to race, nationality, sex, religion, and politics. Credit union services provide access to affordable financial services to all including the underserved.

5. Financial Sustainability - A prime concern of the credit union is to build the financial strength, including adequate reserves and internal controls that will ensure continued service to membership. The surplus arising out of the operations of the credit union after paying all operating and provision costs, providing a fair rate of interest on savings and deposits and after payment of fair dividends on members shares or equity capital, should ensure appropriate reserve levels.


6. Maximizing Member Economic Benefit - To encourage thrift through savings

and thus to fund loans and other services, a fair rate of interest is paid on savings and deposits. While meeting the conditions of financial sustainability of the credit union, the provision and pricing of services seek to improve the economic and social well-being of all members.

Social Responsibility 7. Financial Literacy - Credit unions provide relevant education to their members, officers, and employees for their economic, social, democratic and professional development. Training and education in financial literacy supports members’ informed choices in thrift, debt, wise use of credit and financial planning and budgeting. Providing skill sets and knowledge that allow members to make informed and effective decisions with all of their financial resources are essential in serving member needs. Credit unions also provide education to their members in rights and responsibilities of members.



8. Network Cooperation - In keeping with their cooperative philosophy and to benefit from the economic and efficiency advantages of pooling resources and expertise, credit unions and other cooperative financial institutions cooperate with other credit unions, cooperatives and their associations at local, national, and international levels to best serve the interests of their members and their communities. 9. Community

Responsibility - The cooperative ethos supports the ideals of self-help, mutual assistance and economic empowerment. The vision of economic empowerment extends both to the individual members and to the larger community in which they work and reside. Credit unions support the growth of a broader just, healthy and prosperous community within which the credit union and its members reside.

10 Global Vision - The vision embodies building, championing, defending and growing a global community that improves lives through cooperative financial institutions. source: www.woccu.org


OUR PROMISE TO YOU Join a Credit Union because we promise that we will always keep our decisions focused on providing you with access to quality financial services and a quality life. This promise is easy to keep because you are a part of our decision making! There are several credit unions in Barbados all waiting to help you achieve our dreams!

Remember Credit Unions Are: More Than Money! We’re People Helping People To Achieve A Better Life For Yourself And Your Community!




Š 2020 Barbados Co-operative & Credit Union League Ltd. 1st Floor Cooperators General Insurance BLG Upper Collymore Rock, St. Michael Tel: 246-429-7075 www.barbadoscoopleague.org


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Credit Unions: More Than Money  

Credit Unions: More Than Money  

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