Recently I helped to form a brand new cooperative! If you’re wondering what a cooperative is, just look on wikipedia has a good definition as does Miriam Webster. My new cooperative is called the Pressure Washer Family Co-op. My father-in-law, brother-in-law, and I all own a share of a new gas powered Troy Bilt 2550 psi pressure washer. My coop total cost of the pressure washer is less than $95. It cleaned my house beautifully last weekend. Since I am not the sole owner of it I have already noticed that I treated it more nicely than if was altogether my own. I followed all the directions being careful not to damage anything. (I usually don’t read directions!) But the best part is not having to pay two months worth of my savings to buy it and not always having the responsibility of storing it in my limited storage space. Sure, it requires a little more communication and planning if I need to get the pressure washer, but we’re all social creatures. Personally, being naturally reserved and quiet, I need a little motivation to build relationships with my friends and family.
Much like my little co-op, Credit Unions are big cooperatives. Every credit union member owns a share of their credit union. They each get one vote as to the operation of their co-op. They can even volunteer to serve and oversee the administration of their co-op. Since my pressure washer co-op consists of just three people we don’t have alot of administration to worry about. If I ever have a problem with the way my family uses our pressure washer I have a responsibility to let them know otherwise, in the long run, I may lose the benefit I have by owning a share of the pressure washer. And the benefits are what makes co-op’s so attractive. I pay a little and get alot! In my case I save almost $200 by sharing a pressure washer. It’s the same for credit unions. Members pay alot less for the same(or better) services that for-profit business offer.