A cooperative is a nonprofit form of business. Unlike other businesses, a cooperative is owned and controlled by the people who use it; its members. A cooperative operates for the benefit of its members, not for a small group of investors or a single owner. As a member of Western Iowa Telephone, you share in the profits made by the telephone company in the form of capital credits.
How do I become a Member?
As a subscriber to Western Iowa Telephone you are automatically a member. When you signed up for telephone service, you also signed a membership card to the cooperative which entitles you to all the benefits of being a member.
How am I represented as a Member?
You are represented by individuals in your community, Western Iowa Telephone's Board of Directors. As a member, each year you are sent a ballot to vote for the director positions up for election. There is at least one director from each of the cooperative's eight exchanges on the board. Each director holds a three-year term after which he/she must run again. These board members represent the members in their exchange and make decisions concerning the cooperative in all members' best interest. However, as a member you may contact the office at any time with questions or concerns. You are also encouraged to attend the cooperative's annual meeting held each year at which the directors are elected and cooperative happenings are discussed.
What are Capital Credits?
Each year Western Iowa Telephone's profits, the difference between the amount of money made by the company and its expenses paid out, are calculated and allocated to all of the cooperative member's capital credit accounts. The amount allocated to your account each year is based on your patronage, or business with the cooperative (including outgoing and incoming long distance calls). This dollar amount will fluctuate year to year based on the cooperative's profit margin and your patronage.
What is an Allocation Notice?
Each year you are a member you will receive an allocation notice. This notice informs you of the amount of Western Iowa Telephone's profits that have been allocated to your capital credit account for the previous year. For example, in 2010 you would have received an allocation notice for 2009. This statement also informs you of your total accumulation of capital credits that have not yet been paid.
When will I receive payment for these Capital Credits?
Payment of capital credits is determined by the Board of Directors. Between the time you receive your allocation notice and the time it is paid, the money continues to be used by your cooperative to maintain and improve its telephone facilities to provide all members with the best telephone service possible. The time frame between notification and payment of capital credits is based on the needs of the cooperative and the ability, from a cash position, to pay the capital credits to its members.
Even if you move out of the Western Iowa Telephone service area, you will continue to receive your capital credits for the years you were a member. Lump sum payments of capital credits are made only to an estate upon the death of a member.
1. You are a Member
You are not only a customer, but also a member of Western Iowa Telephone, which means you share in the profits of the company.
2. Capital Credits
Western Iowa Telephone's profits, the difference between the amount of money made by the cooperative and its expenses, are paid back to the members of the cooperative as capital credits.
3. Local Telephone Company
Western Iowa Telephone is a local telephone company and the people who work for Western Iowa Telephone are part of your community. Being local means that whenever you have a question or a problem, we are right here in person to assist you.
4. Lower Prices
Being a cooperative enables us to provide reliable service at affordable rates for everyone in our service area.
5. You Vote
Every year you can vote for the nominated individuals running for a position on the board of directors. The directors are people from your community who represent all members of the cooperative.