Ed Callahan died in 2009, or six years ago today. As Jim Blaine, CEO of State Employees' Credit Union in North Carolina, observed, as a good Irishman, Ed waited until all the pubs closed on St. Patrick’s Day. This New York Times article refers to Ed’s critical role at NCUA at a very difficult time for both the economy and credit unions.
The article states:
"Mr. Callahan successfully promoted legislation that, starting in 1985, required credit unions to capitalize the insurance fund with an additional 1 percent of their insured shares, raising the fund’s equity level to 1.3 percent from 0.30 percent and placing it on a far more secure footing.
"He also instituted a policy that allowed credit unions to serve more than one membership group, as long as each group could demonstrate some common link. The Federal Credit Union Act of 1934 had required credit unions to serve only one group. Mr. Callahan’s policy allowed for diversification so that if, for example, a particular business was about to close, its failure would not bring down the credit union."
On April 1, 1985, Ed also founded Callahan & Associates, which in many ways is the most vital and continuing expression of his leadership beliefs, which were:
The inevitability of change so we might as well get in front and innovate.
Belief in people’s capacity to do good.
The need for community that we can support and belong to.
The article mentions the sign “We don’t run credit unions," which was given to Ed when he left the Illinois Division of Financial Institutions as an expression of his regulatory philosophy.
Credit unions are the responsibility of their boards, employees, and members, not the regulator. The sign is back in my den. Hopefully, it will grace NCUA’s halls at some future point — in spirit if not in fact.
A Noble Obituary
Read the full New York Times article about Ed's impressive life and legacy.