Cooperatives are unique to other corporations because they have three distinguishing principles: user-owner, user-controlled and user-benefited. The user-owned principle signifies that the users are the ones who are financing the cooperative by transacting business. User-controlled means that the Board of Directors is elected by the members of the cooperative and serves as the link between the membership and the manager. User-benefited indicates that the members are the ones profiting from the cooperative because patronage refunds are returned to the members based on the amount of business they conducted with the cooperative. The uniqueness of cooperatives is that the customers, owners, patrons and members could be the same person.