Samples: The Latest & the Greatest

These are the items I want to highlight right now. Maybe they are my most recent blog post or maybe they are a post that has been around for a while, but that remains relevant.

Is the Fear of Being First Interfering with Our Efforts to Go Green? Climate change is pushing humanity to the limit, but we are finding solutions. The greatest challenge lies in crafting those changes into our new reality and doing it quickly enough to make a positive and lasting difference. Lately, I have been reading […]

Credit unions pride themselves on their commitment to their communities and demonstrate that concern in many ways. This includes supporting charitable drives in the neighborhood, bankrolling local small businesses, or sponsoring financial literacy efforts aimed at their friends, neighbors, and fellow credit union members.

This commitment can be seen in the social media feeds, email newsletters, and web posts of credit unions all across Canada and the United States. I believe it is a sincere commitment and is one of the greatest strengths of the credit union movement as a whole.  Read more

As organizations aimed at achieving economic strength and autonomy by banding together, it is clear that credit unions have a role to play in supporting similar organizations. This is an extension of the goal I have written about already: promoting credit unions’ local role in supporting local small businesses and charities.  And as Synergy Credit Union describes it in the presentation I have pointed to every time: 

What it means to you: Your credit union strengthens the cooperative movement by partnering with organizations that share the same important values. Read more

The purpose of any credit union is to offer economic and financial benefits to its members. And that means you. Because the credit union belongs to its members, rates and fees are set to benefit everyone in the credit union. And services are put in place to help each of us.

As a member of your local credit union, you participate in deciding who will oversee the general direction of the institution, and it will act to serve its members and community. And refreshingly, your influence is based on being an individual member – not on the number of voting shares you bring to the table. In some ways, it seems like a radical concept, but it doesn’t need to be. 

Credit unions work by offering members a sense of ownership along with the feeling of inclusion I talked about in my last post. And that sense of ownership can be empowering. 

But that sense of power brings with it a feeling of responsibility. We are collectively involved in real decisions with real consequences. And those decisions should not be taken lightly.

A drawn image of a crowd of people of all colors

No matter what your financial situation looks like, the door is open, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.

Multi coloured stick people fill a piggy bank

I’m not sure that everyone who is a credit union member is familiar with just what it means. Do you know why you’re a member? You probably are, if you’re sitting down to read this. But I would hazard the guess that there are many others who don’t really know why they’re a member.

For some, it might be where their family has been banking for decades. For others, it might be because their employer supports one. And for others, it might be that the credit union is right down the street.

All of those are valid reasons for being a credit union member, but there are other things that make it something to be proud of. As a credit union member, you are in an elite group making a real difference in your community.

And that community can be whatever size you want it to be. Credit unions make a difference in their local neighbourhood, but by working with other credit unions across the province, the country, or even the world, they make a difference wherever they are needed.

And at their core, credit unions act as financial cooperatives involved in offering banking services to their members.

They aren’t the only type of cooperative enterprises out there (coops for short). There are worker coops, food coops, farming coops, etc. The list goes on.

The Seven Cooperative Principles

Did you know that there is actually a set of cooperative principles maintained and shared by the International Cooperative Alliance? These seven principles are:

  1. Voluntary and open membership

  2. Democratic member control

  3. Member economic participation

  4. Autonomy and independence

  5. Education, training and information

  6. Co-operation between co-operatives

  7. Concern for community

Let’s spend some time looking at each of these principles to understand it in the context of your local, much-beloved credit union, where you feel at home the moment you walk in the door.

But before I continue, I want to take a moment to acknowledge this handout prepared by Synergy Credit Union in Saskatchewan – the birthplace of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation. But again, that’s another story…

What do these principles mean?

Voluntary and open membership

What it means to you: No matter what your financial situation looks like, the door is open, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.

Isn’t it nice to know that when you walk through the door, you’ll be accepted for who you are? I know I appreciate it.

Democratic member control

What it means to you: You help call the shots by electing a board of directors. One member equals one vote. This is local democracy in action.

And when you get your invitation to attend the general meeting and vote for your board of directors, you have just as much say as the person sitting next to you, no matter how much either of you have invested in your credit union. Not exactly the message you would hear if you were to go to one of the big bank’s annual meetings.

Member economic participation

What it means to you: Better rates, lower fees and services that benefit the entire credit union. The more that members participate, the more there is to go around.

This is something else you don’t see from the banks. When things go well, the only people cheering are the shareholders.

Autonomy and independence

What it means to you: As a financial co-operative, your credit union is controlled by real members like you, instead of outside shareholders.

Power in your hands and in those of your neighbours. That’s a comforting feeling.

Education, training and information

What it means to you: Access to financial literacy tools and resources. Credit unions believe that education contributes to personal growth.

Lessons in personal finance, for saving, borrowing, or investing, help you live more stress-free and on top of your games than you would otherwise. And besides, don’t you think the coffee and donuts are a nice touch?

Co-operation between co-operatives

What it means to you: Your credit union strengthens the co-operative movement by partnering with organizations that share the same important values.

There is comfort in the knowledge that there are credit unions like yours all across the country (and around the world) out there sharing your values working with you to promote those values.

Concern for community

What it means to you: Knowing that your day-to-day banking translates into benefits for charities, local businesses and the entire community.

By being a member of your local credit union, you are contributing to your community. Whether that is through supporting local business or contributing to local charities, you’re supporting your own community.

What does all this mean?

If you are a member of your local credit union, stand up and be proud. You deserve the credit. (Get it? Teehee)

This is a message to be shared. In the same way that we share these values.

Putin’s little escapade has fundamentally affected many political and economic conversations, including the need to push towards renewable energy. A significant portion of the oil and LNG used in Europe originates in Russia and threats to shut off that supply threatens to have a significant immediate impact on the European economy. By converting to renewable energy, Europe can avoid that trap.

Governance is the third tenet of ESG and generally refers to the internal workings of a corporation and its impact on that company’s overall performance and public reputation.

This is where scandal is most likely to crop up, often suddenly and without warning, mainly because not enough attention is spent examining its roots.

And political and historical examples of the impact of scandals like this are not hard to find. One of the most prominent in Canadian history almost destroyed MacDonald while he was in office. Other events during his second tenure as Prime Minister have served to seriously damage his legacy.