Diversity, equality and inclusion will become a co-operative principle for credit unions in the USA.
The Credit Union National Association (Cuna) voted in favour of a resolution to establish diversity, equity and inclusion as a co-operative principle of credit unions across the country.
The resolution builds on the work of former board chair of Cuna, Maurice Smith, CEO of Local Government FCU in Raleigh, who appointed a working group to examine what the movement could do to drive diversity.
In February, which is commemorated as Black History Month, Mr Smith called on US credit unions to include diversity and inclusion as a co-operative principle.
While co-operative principles one and two – open and voluntary membership and democratic control – imply diversity and inclusion, he said, there is no explicit emphasis on these issues.
“The credit union way is, and has always been, keenly fixated on members,” he wrote at the time. “Therefore, it stands to reason that all members should be engaged in the movement.
“Still, there is more to diversity and inclusion than financial access for members. We need to hold each other accountable for equality, equity, and opportunity for members, volunteers, and credit union professionals. It must be everywhere from the grassroots of our communities to the top of our credit unions or we will not fully serve our purpose.”
The co-operative principles date back to 1844 when they were set out by the Rochdale Pioneers. In 1937 they were adopted by the International Co-operative Alliance, which updated them in 1966 and 1995.
“Diversity, equity and inclusion are a part of what credit unions do each and every day. Our co-operative principles have guided us to fulfil our mandate and be a resource to all consumers – no matter their income, race, religion. But we’re committed to doing more,” said Cuna president and CEO Jim Nussle. “In passing this resolution, we’re continuing our work to embrace diversity, equity and inclusion efforts within our organisation while we support measures throughout our movement and across all co-operatives.”