Credit union volunteers and leaders are working to change the financial landscape of America.
“One man with courage can make a majority.” I was reminded of President Andrew Jackson’s quote when reviewing Jim Blaine’s blog.
Jim’s “Something Sphinx!” entry talks about NCUA’s continued “friendly fire” at the credit union system. His post summarizes the growing credit union frustration with NCUA’s tactics and hubris. His words are timely. Credit unions are coming en masse to DC next week for CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference. The GAC offers credit unions a chance to deliver their individual messages directly to CUNA, NCUA, and Congress.
Along with Jim Blaine and countless credit union leaders, Dave Serlo, the late president of PSCU Financial Services, also spent his entire professional life serving credit unions. Dave left credit unions with timeless wisdom in his last lecture, which was recorded for PSCU’s annual meeting in May 2010. The thesis of his speech is credit unions are “different by design.”
Dave offers one example of this difference by design: “Credit unions [have] a unique tradition of providing a financial safe haven for America’s consumers.” And on Saturday, the New York Times offered another affirmation of credit unions’ different role. The article “Healing a Wounded Credit Score” singles out credit unions as “institutions more willing to work with members who have checkered histories.”
What I like most about Dave’s vision is that it acknowledges the past while looking toward the future. “Credit unions’ role today is to change the financial landscape of America,” he says. That, of course, was Edward Filene’s goal in 1934 in seeking support for the passage of the Federal Credit Union Act. In a tangible way, the ambition of every volunteer who put in the sweat equity to start a credit union or who oversees the legacy handed over to today’s leaders is to change the financial landscape of America.
So as Jim and Dave remind us, it is not the numbers on our side but the willingness to venture; to have the courage of our convictions, even if they are not yet the majority view.