One of the first decisions that I was asked to participate in as a new member of the US Federation of Worker Co-operatives was to support the development of a Worker Co-operative Federal Credit Union. That was a couple of years ago and I haven’t thought much about it until the last month or so. The principle organizer of this effort is Mike Leung and he has been making slow but steady progress.
From their web site, the purpose of the project is as follows:
“The primary purpose of the proposed “Worker Cooperative Federal Credit Union” will be financing worker cooperatives. Worker cooperatives are businesses that are worker owned and democratically managed by their members. The proposed credit union will provide the following services to worker cooperatives:
1) The proposed credit union will provide financial services for worker cooperatives and their members. Its primary purpose will be providing business loans and lines of credit to worker cooperatives. It will also provide personal loans for members’ capital contributions, as well as general consumer lending to individuals.
2) The credit union will provide technical assistance for its members in collaboration with other cooperative support and development organizations. This may include financial, legal, or organizational assistance.
3) The credit union will support education and awareness about worker cooperatives. It will help highlight the benefits of worker ownership and democratic management in the workplace.”
Members of the USFWC, as well as other sponsoring organizations (NoBAWC, NASCO). In addition the organizations, the member co-operatives’ members may also join.
The project has a long way to go and has yet to receive a Federal Charter. However, some major early hurdles have been cleared and they will likely be a capital drive starting soon.
This will be a great opportunity for the thousands of Americans across the country who support worker co-operatives to provide more than moral support.