Best Practice Guide

Credit unions are member-owned and governed institutions that exist for the good of those using their services. The Consumer Protection Principles are standards to safeguard credit union members, enabling them to understand their rights and make informed decisions. While each credit union must comply with local regulatory  requirements and prudential standards, the International Credit Union Consumer Protection  Principles offer a best-practice guide based on World Council of Credit Unions’ experience with the  development of credit  union worldwide.              

Disclosure of Rates and Fees

Credit unions shall make savings and share disclosures clearly in writing and in a form the member or potential member understands. All interest or dividend rates, inclusive of fees and commissions, shall be quoted to members or potential members as the rates earned on an annual basis. Disclosures should be provided before a transaction is complete or an
account is opened.

Periodic Statements
Credit unions shall provide statements to all members on at least a quarterly basis. Statements shall include loan and savings
balances and the annual percentage rates applicable for dividends and interest received or charged to an account. Any fees or
finance charges imposed during the statement period, a description of the fee imposed and beginning and ending dates of the period shall be included in the statement.

Honest and Non-Deceptive Promotions
Any credit union marketing or advertising shall provide consumers with all relevant information to make well-informed
decisions. Credit unions should avoid loan promotions and programs that have initial low prices, but later reset at higher rates
without fully informing the consumer. If advertisements state an interest or dividend rate, it shall state the rate as an annual
percentage rate. For variable-rate accounts, advertising should contain a statement that the rate may change after the account is opened and define the basis for determining variability.

Fair Credit Practices
Credit unions should provide borrowers with accurate, comparable, transparent and complete information about the total
cost of loans, including fees or commissions as required under applicable law. This should be provided through an annual
percentage rate inclusive of fees and commissions. 

Credit unions shall:
•     Allow borrowers a period of time to withdraw from a transaction without a penalty imposed;
•     Never offer members products the members cannot repay or will likely cause the member severe financial hardship;  
•     Provide loan applicants with written responses as to why loan applications have been rejected. Credit union staff or
     board members should never accept any compensation from a potential borrower in exchange for granting of a loan; and
•     Not charge borrowers fees or penalties for early repayment of a loan.

Dignified Collection Practices
While consistent and persistent collection practices are necessary, credit unions should not directly or indirectly through collection firms seek to collect debts by harassing, physically or verbally abusing or oppressing a person. The following conduct is considered unacceptable:
•     Using or threatening the use of violence or other criminal means to harm the physical person, reputation or property of any person; or
•     Use of obscene or profane language.

Members’ Consent to Share Information
Prior to sharing information about a member with a third party for purposes of selling products or services, a credit union
should provide its members with the option of not having their information shared. Credit unions should take precautions to
secure members’ personal and financial information.

Dispute Resolution Services
In addition to the legal system, credit unions shall provide members with options for filing and resolving complaints against
the credit union. These services can be provided either directly by the credit union or through a third party.

Provide Education about Thrift and Wise Use of Credit
In accordance with the International Operating Principles for Credit Unions, credit unions should provide members with
information and tools on how to accumulate wealth and utilize credit wisely. Credit unions should also consider funding
consumer finance advocacy organizations.

Fair and Forthright Conversions
Any credit union that seeks to voluntarily demutualize and cease operating as a cooperative should have at least 30% of its
members directly voting on such a conversion and the motion passing with 75% voting in favor. In a voluntary conversion
or wind-up of a credit union, any remaining net capital of the credit union should be donated to another cooperative or
development agency for the purpose of education on cooperatives or help in starting new cooperatives.