Thing 9 of 30: Proudly display and live the 7 cooperative principles

September is 30 things I would implement or consider implementing at my credit union if I was a credit union leader.

Thing 9: Proudly display and live the 7 cooperative principles

While you may know that the credit union philosophy is rooted in the 7 cooperative principles that guide all cooperatives, does your staff know that? How about your members? There seems to be a glaring lack of communication about this fact in the credit union space.

If I were the leader of a credit union, I would follow Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union's lead and dedicate a section of our credit union's website to explaining the 7 cooperative principles. I have visited a lot of credit union websites and I have never seen such a great display of what credit unions should be all about.

Seattle Metropolitan has taken the these simple truths and turned them into a big differentiator, just by being the only credit union talking about this stuff! Not only is it real and authentic, it's a great marketing hook (I know, that's a sacrilegious thing to say).

I also really like how Seattle Metropolitan has customized the wording to make the principles even more relevant.

The 7 Cooperative Principles

Principle #1 (inclusive): membership should be open to all
Principle #2 (voice): members should call the shots
Principle #3 (benefit): rates and fees should benefit our members
Principle #4 (independent): autonomy and independence set us apart
Principle #5 (education): financial education should be free and available to all
Principle #6 (cooperation): cooperation among cooperatives is vital
Principle #7 (community): giving back to the community is an obligation

I'd also proudly display these principles in a unique way in every branch lobby and in all of the staff rooms. Seems like a no-brainer to me!

Kudos to Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union. Its marketing department does some great marketing and PR work. Check out these two example reported on by The Financial Brand, here and here.

Tim