Over two thirds of Americans believe co-operatives such as credit unions and rural electric co-ops are “helpful to consumers” and one third of Americans say they belong to a consumer co-operative.
These results were revealed in a national survey developed by the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) and Consumer Federation of America (CFA).
29 percent of people questioned said they were part of a co-operative and 72 percent believed they were “helpful to consumers”. Only 11 percent said they thought they were “unhelpful”.
“This survey illustrates that the 29,000 co-operatives in this country offer a much-needed alternative that consumers appreciate,” said Liz Bailey, interim president and chief executive officer of the NCBA.
“At a time when the entire business community is focused on demonstrating shared value and social responsibility, it’s gratifying to know that Americans continue to place their trust in member-owned, democratically governed co-operative business enterprises.”
Co-operatives were also rated more highly than for-profit businesses in six different areas including: running their business in a trustworthy manner, having the best interests of the customer in mind and offering fair, competitive prices.
“The Consumer Federation of America has long believed that cooperatives offer pro-consumer services and enhance pro-consumer competition in the marketplace,” said Stephen Brobeck, executive director of CFA. “It is gratifying to learn from this survey that consumers agree with us.”
The CFA is a non-profit association of 280 national, state and local pro-consumer organisations. It was set up to promote the consumer interest through research, education and advocacy.
The survey was administered to a representative sample of 1,008 adult Americans by Opinion Research Corp International (ORC) on the weekend of April 19, 2012.