A credit union service organisation in the USA has launched a social responsibility programme for the sector. CO-OP Purpose will highlight community initiatives that enable credit unions to advance their mission of empowering people by improving their financial well-being.
The project was set up by Co-op Financial Services, a body formed in 1981 to help credit unions provide services that meet their members’ needs. Its membership includes 3,500 credit unions with 60 million members between them.
“CO-OP Purpose combines social mission with innovation to give credit unions a unique way to capitalise on their opportunity to attract consumers looking for both in a financial institution,” said Samantha Paxson, chief marketing officer for Co-op Financial Services.
“The programme extends our movement’s traditional commitment to ‘people helping people’ and includes financial literacy education outreach, philanthropic and charitable giving, new ways of collaborating with colleagues and consumers, and access to research on the business case for corporate social responsibility.”
The project will highlight the positive contributions to society that credit unions make at a time when public levels of trust in business are at their lowest since 2008.
As part of CO-OP Purpose, the credit union service organisation will partner with the National Credit Union Foundation on two new financial literacy programmes.
The first will bring together libraries and credit unions to educate people on finance, and the second will see credit unions donate financial literacy kits and school supplies to underprivileged schools.
CO-OP Purpose also incorporates two existing social responsibility initiatives by credit unions: the Credit Union Innovation Project and the CO-OP Miracle Match.
The innovation project includes a fellowship programme and specialised tools for credit unions employees. CO-OP Miracle Match is a USD$1m matching programme that encourages credit unions to conduct fundraisers for children’s miracle network hospitals.
The CO-OP Purpose programme was unveiled at the CO-OP Think conference on 5 May in San Diego. The conference is a yearly leadership event that brings together credit union representatives and experts from other sectors to discuss innovative approaches to financial services.