Cooperatives are democratic, jointly owned businesses set up to serve the common needs of their members. There are many types of cooperatives (examples: consumer cooperatives, worker cooperatives, farming cooperatives, housing cooperatives, credit unions) with a diverse set of legal incorporation and governance structures, but cooperatives tend to be organized around the Rochdale principles:

  1. Open, voluntary membership.
  2. Democratic governance.
  3. Limited return on equity.
  4. Surplus belongs to members.
  5. Education of members and public in cooperative principles.
  6. Cooperation between cooperatives.

Credit Unions