Permaculture Credit Union
vlawrence at nets.com
Sun Aug 27 21:16:30 EDT 2000
mIEKAL aND wrote:
What about this makes it a "permaculture" credit union? its not
really clear at
yr website. will you make loans to permaculture projects?
In answer to your question "What makes this a "permaculture" credit
1. Ultimately, this will be determined by the members. The "field of
membership" is primarily for graduates of permaculture courses. It is
"our" credit union, and, as such, it is ultimately a democratically
controlled financial institution whose policies and practices will be
controlled by its members - i.e.- the permaculture community. As we grow
and develop, the members, on a "one-share-one-vote" basis will elect the
board of the credit union which then makes most policy decisions.
Non-board members are welcome to participate on the credit/loan
committee as well as other committees that oversee the operations of the
2. The PCU has been started by a group of local permaculturists in Santa
Fe under the sponsorship of the Permaculture
Institute USA and we have endeavored to create, where possible, a
financial institution that is based on and reflects the
ethics and principles of permaculture. It is one of the "invisible
structures" that Bill Mollison discusses at some length in the
Designer's Manual Chapter 14 - "Strategies for an Alternative Nation".
We are somewhat curtailled in our first several years
of operation by the state and Federal regulators (whose primary purpose
is to insure that we manage the CU according to
sound financial practices and principles). We are doing this so that
these same organizations will provide "deposit insurance"
of each individual member up to $100,000 per account (like FDIC deposit
insurance, only for credit unions). We felt this
was a worthwhile compromise to safeguard the assets of our PC sisters
3. Eventually we will be making loans to permaculture projects, solar
and alternative technology initiatives, small businesses,
PC improvement loans, homestead loans, etc. In order to do this, we need
members and their deposits first. Hopefully, our
first loans will go to energy efficient vehicles and as "signature
loans" to PCU members for their own projects (these are
funds that are borrowed against funds in a share account which the
member pledges as collateral.
Everyone is welcome to help in this effort by enrolling others in the
PCU. The quickest way to get in the loop is to go to
www.pcuonline.org or call the PCU office at 505-954-3479.
4. The PCU will also benefit the Permaculture community at-large through
the various services and benefits that can be
offered through the PCU. These include group health insurance, life
insurance, automobile insurance, etc. Several years ago,
Bill challenged us in several different venues by saying " You are an
elephant acting like you are a mouse!"
The number of people who are PC graduates, who are practicing
permaculture, and/or who believe in the ethics upon which
permaculture is based is truly astounding. Yet sadly, until now, we have
had no common voice in putting our financial
resources firmly in line with these principles and leveraging our size
to generate benefits for the PC community. It is our
sincere desire to remedy this situation via the PCU.
Finally, we don't have all the answers as to how this will be
accomplished. It is a work in progress and (as noted above)
highly regulated at the moment. Our goal is to have 100% of the monies
deposited in the PCU loaned out to or invested in
projects and enterprises that absolutely reflect the ethis of
permaculture. We have a long way to go before this is a true
statement. It is up to the members of the PCU to make this happen by
their involvement, deposits, loan applications,
volunteer participation and general support and goodwill.
I hope this answers your questions a bit more thoroughly. The website
has a page on Frequently Asked Questions which
may cover some of the more mundane aspects of Credit Union operations.
Thanks again for your interest,
-Apache Creek Ranch Permaculture
-Founding Board Member of the Permaculture Credit Union
More information about the permaculture