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Credit unions are financial cooperatives and, like cooperatives around the world, they generally operate according to the same seven core principles and values adopted in 1995 by the International Cooperative Alliance. Cooperatives can trace their roots to the first modern cooperative founded in Rochdale, England, in 1844.
The Seven Cooperative Principles are a set of fundamental values and philosophies that guide credit unions and cooperatives in equality, fairness, and mutual self-help.
Today, more than 1 billion people are members of cooperatives, or co-ops. You will find co-ops involved in a variety of businesses, from food to hardware stores and taxis; and though their businesses differ, their mutual goal is a commitment to community and improving the life of their members.
While they have been updated from their original form, many credit unions use the Seven Cooperative Principles as part of their mission to serve their members; and they communicate these principles to members as a strategic differentiator.
A PDF version of the Principles is available to download. Printed copies of the Seven Cooperative Principles are also available for purchase.