2Q 2010 Editor's Note

Mixed signals about the economy don’t diminish the positive work of credit unions.


This edition of CUSP is truly my favorite edition so far. Some issues are easy — times are good, growth is widespread, optimism is high, success stories are rampant. The past few months have been different.

We think America is on the road to recovery, and then we get mixed messages. On the employment front, jobs are being added to the economy, just not fast enough. Mortgage delinquencies are down at credit unions for the second straight quarter, but foreclosures across the nation hit another record high in August. And closer to home, troubled credit unions are showing undeniable evidence of recovery…only to be conserved by NCUA (see Arrowhead’s Demise on page 41).

But even on this roller coaster of emotion, credit unions in the second quarter of 2010 led local economic recoveries. And the analysis, the stories, and the first-person perspectives in this edition demonstrate the power of the cooperative business model and the importance of the members.

In this edition’s Leadership Perspectives, starting on page 91, we spoke to four CEOs of “small” credit unions that have turned in big results in 2010. Judy Makela, chief executive officer of $30 million Sunset Science Park FCU names no less than a half dozen people and partnerships that contribute to the credit union’s success.  Randy Marks of $103 million MECE Credit Union credits the high quality of the membership for his credit union’s growth and asset quality profile.  

Read their interviews, then follow us to CUSP Online to view how they, or any other credit union, performed according to our five online performance reports.

At the other end of the size spectrum is Community First Credit Union ($1.4B, Appleton, WI), the topic of our Anatomy of a Community Credit Union feature starting on page 43. “If we’re going to have members truly embrace the idea of a cooperative, they need to understand that it’s a give and take,” says Catherine Tierney, president and chief executive officer of Community First. “They have a responsibility here, too. It’s a challenge to educate members and employees, to help them understand what it means to be a productive member of the cooperative.”

The 13 pages in this special feature are just the tip of the iceberg. For extended coverage and exclusive video features from our two-day trip to America’s heartland – including coverage of Community First’s sponsorship of ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition – follow us, again, to CUSP Online.

The cooperative charter gives us the ability to see past our individual needs and build networks to help deliver quality products and services to all members, no matter the size or location of their credit union. In our CUSOs and Network Strategies section, starting on page 69, we examine how some of the nation’s CUSOs have helped members buy – and stay in – their homes.

We had to dig just a little to find the best stories for second quarter 2010, but credit union success is everywhere. Regardless of the larger economic environment, credit unions are proving once again – and again – the difference we make in the lives of our members and in the lives our communities.