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Co-op Collaboration Guide


Guide to Collaboration Among Cooperatives


In an effort to fuel the cooperative spirit in credit unions across the country, CUNA's Cooperative Alliances Committee released a guide in the fall of 2012. It discusses how credit unions can improve their interactions with other cooperatives to grow their business, build advocacy allies, and improve their communities.The committee is chaired by MnCUN President & CEO Mark Cummins. With a 28-year career in the financial services industry, Cummins has spent 24 years in the credit union movement, including the past six years with MnCUN.

As cooperatives, the 7,300 credit unions in the U.S. are uniquely tied to more than 22,000 other cooperatives in the country. Cooperatives have more than $3 trillion in assets nationwide and employ 857,000 people, with a payroll of $25 billion.

Minnesota is the nation's most cooperatively-organized state, with more than1,000 co-ops across 16 industrial sectors. It is also home to the country's two largest cooperatives, CHS Inc. and Land O'Lakes.

The Cooperative Alliances Guide provides insight into cooperative business and gives practical ideas to inspire credit unions to actively collaborate with cooperatives from all sectors. Some of the suggestions for credit unions included in the guide are listed below.

  • Host a networking event at your credit union, inviting area co-op leaders to meet and collaborate
  • Invite other local co-op leaders to speak at your credit union's annual meeting
  • Assign a staff member as your credit union's co-op liaison, responsible for cultivating partnerships
  • Recruit board members that have co-op experience
  • Schedule an employee training day that focuses on the seven cooperative principles and how they're demonstrated at your credit union
  • Remind employees that they're part of the cooperative movement – something bigger, something different
  • Frame your credit union's strategic plan using the seven cooperative principles
  • Focus your member business lending on the co-op community
  • Educate high school and/or college students about cooperatives to perpetuate the co-op business model
  • Participate in the National Credit Union Foundation's Development Educator training

Download the report – Cooperative Alliances Guide (pdf)