Returning capital credits shows what being a cooperative means. Because of the cooperative nature of rural electric systems, every dollar that a member pays beyond the cost of providing electric service becomes a part of the cooperatives working capital. The term for this payment in excess of costs is margin. Cooperatives must produce a minimal margin at the end of the year in order to stay in business and continue to provide service to their members. Margins constitute a members investment in the system and is not a profit to either the cooperative or its members.