A Member Raises an Abiding Question Both Topical and Troubling

While traveling yesterday I was copied on an email between two credit union members.  The sender asked in part: 

“ I belong to five different credit unions.  I’ve clawed my way onto the supervisory committee of one of them. . . Alas, the Board of one has recently approved a deal by which it will be swallowed up by the biggest credit union in the state. . . When the deal was announced I wrote asking for whatever merger documents they could disclose.

I heard back directly from the CEO, who cheerfully explained they would be disgorging absolutely no documents.  It appears to me that the board and management actually expect the membership to ratify this deal entirely on a “trust me” basis. . . literally every justification that has been publicly offered comes down to some version of “bigger is better.”

His request:  “I am wondering if you would refresh my memory about what specific questions a concerned member ought to be asking about a deal like this.”

Topical and Troubling

If the situation is familiar, it is because it  happens  weekly.   Not mergers, but member-owners cut out of the process entirely.  Private deals supported by rhetorical promises and void of any objective facts.

Takeovers are an everyday event in capitalism and its anything-goes world of buyouts and mergers enabled by the financiers.

Here is how one long serving capitalist CEO described the process in his Annual Report:

Acquisition proposals remains a particularly vexing problem for board members.  The legal orchestration making deals has been refined and expanded (a word aptly describing attendant costs as well). But I have yet to see a CEO who craves an acquisition bring in an informed and articulate critic to argue against it.  And yes, include me in that category.

Overall, the deck is stacked in favor of the deal that’s coveted by the CEO and his/her obliging staff.  It would be an interesting exercise for a company to hire two “expert” acquisition advisors one pro and one con, to deliver his or her proposed views on the a proposed deal to the board—with the winning advisor to receive, say, ten times a token sum paid to the loser. 

Don’t hold your breath awaiting this reform:  the current system whatever its shortcomings for shareholders, works magnificently for CEO’s and the many advisors and other professionals who feast on deals.  A venerable caution will forever be true when advice from Wall Street is contemplated:  Don’t ask the barber whether you need a haircut.   (Source 2019 Annual Report, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. pgs 12-13)

A Game without Rules: Credit Unions Become Commodities

Mergers are being undertaken by sound, well established and stable credit unions not to better serve members.   But rather to make life easier for their leaders.

Instead of cooperative communities expanding long-time member relationships, these transactions treat credit unions like a commodity.  Leaders who give up their fiduciary positions to an outside third party without  engaging the owners prior to the decision and who must approve this charter cancellation.

This is the situation the member’s email describes.  And hundreds of thousands more members who end up becoming just consumer accounts to be bought and sold.

This is worse than the acquisition games Buffett describes in his Annual Report.  Credit unions and cooperative design is supposed to protect member-owners from self-dealing leaders and board toadyism.

Mergers lack transparency, public disclosures of strategy or benefits, and certainly no post acquisition accountability.  These are private deals negotiated by CEO’s putting their interests first and then announcing their intent to members.

The member vote is merely an administrative process without substance where very few members even bother to participate. All the messaging, resources and formal requirements are under the complete control of the persons benefitting from the transaction-not the members who must approve the decision.

What can members do?  How can the supposed democratic one member one vote governance model be revitalized to ensure member interests are front and center in these self-dealing transactions?

That is what the member is asking.  I will share your thoughts, and offer a few of my own.   Where is the Kristen Christian   when  members now need her to  save their own credit unions?

Buffett’s Merger Conclusion

“I’ve concluded that acquisitions are similar to marriage:  The start, of course, with a joyful wedding–but then reality tends to diverge from the pre-nuptial expectations.  Sometimes, wonderfully, the new union delivers bliss beyond either party’s hopes.  In other cases, disillusionment is swift.  Applying those images to corporate acquisitions, I’d have to say it is unusually the buyer who encounters unpleasant surprises.  It’s easy to get dreamy-eyed during corporate courtships.”


On the Fire Line-Again

Seeing the flames on the news ravaging the New Mexico countryside and park forests  is an unusual event for this scale of catastrophe. Sudden and destructive;  no prior notice.

This brief update yesterday is from Denise Wymore, a coop evangelist:

“It’s been over a decade since New Mexico has experienced a major wildfire.

In June of 2011, a wildfire that would consume over 155,000 acres in New Mexico erupted.  The Las Conchas Fire began around 1pm on June 26, when a gust of wind blew a 75 foot tall aspen into a power line. From that ridge top began the largest wildfire ever in New Mexico. During the first 14 hours, the fire raced eastward, consuming more than 43,000 acres (an acre per second) of forest and destroying dozens of homes.

Today a disaster of similar scope is occurring. The Calf Canyon and Hermit’s Peak fires have combined – burning over 60,000 acres in Northern New Mexico. Today it is only 12% contained with 817 personnel. The cause is unknown at this time.

The three employees of Rincones Presbyterian Credit Union, $5.45 million in assets providing financial services to almost 300 members, in and around Chacon, New Mexico had to evacuate its sole branch location yesterday.

Guadalupe Credit Union, founded in 1948 by Father Ed McCarthy to serve the parishioners of Guadalupe Church in Santa Fe, NM stepped up. They offered space for the staff of Rincones Presbyterian in their Taos and Las Vegas, NM locations.

Remembering a Prior Emergency

This isn’t the first time credit unions in New Mexico have helped each other during wildfires. The  Las Conchas Fire in 2011 caused the entire town of Los Alamos to evacuate for a week.

The Los Alamos School Employees Credit Union was able to “keep their doors open” with the help of Del Norte Credit Union in Santa Fe. Del Norte (DNCU) served the Los Alamos National Laboratory Employees. Matt Schmidt, Los Alamos School Employees CU CEO remembers his relocation at that time:

Del Norte provided a conference room off the main lobby to setup our servers, computers and printers.  Kim Currie with DNCU met me after hours to open the branch doors and help unload our office equipment. My dog, also an evacuee, watched from the truck.   That moment personified the meaning of “credit union movement.” I felt supported and cared for in a time when the future was uncertain.”

To assist  credit unions like Rincones maintain member service, contact Denise Wymore, Marketing Manger, Qcash Financial at 503-805-4424, or dwymore@qcashfinancial.com.





The Uncertain, Risky Virtual Universe

Should credit unions be investing time and resources in the emerging virtual realities, especially crypto options?

One of Warren Buffett’s truisms is that: Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.

The Fed clearly intends to take the tide out.  Coming rate increases will end the past two years’ historically low cost era of finance and restore  “normal” rate levels to tame inflation.

Markets are now sorting out what valuations have been overpriced with cheap money.  One of these newly created segments is the world of digital finance.  Here’s Bloomberg’s comment on one area of cypto on April 25:

Bitcoin seems to be stuck in a rut: Prices are flagging, online searches for the largest cryptocurrency and other digital assets have fallen off, fewer and fewer coins are changing hands and crypto-related funds are seeing massive outflows.  

An Assessment from the Digital Generation

I asked my computer science oriented grandson whether he or any of his online buddies were creating NFT’s as a way to make money in the virtual world.   He said no.  His reason was that this was virtual gambling.  He had seen newly issued NFT’s bid up in price through anonymous (self-promoting) purchases, and then crash when there was no offers at the pumped up value.

However he does spend lots of time in the virtual world of games and other digital experiences.

Is the meta-omniverse a real business opportunity and if so, for what end? Is it a vast new world of entertainment, an ideological, semi-religious political response to real world problems, or a temporary stage in the evolution of a parallel reality?

Two recent articles have examined both the hype and the opportunity aspects of this emerging financial sector. An internet writer Ginsberg has compared the crypto hype to a religious craze in an April 22 post: Is Crypto Just a Religion for Online Gambling.  Selected excerpts follow:

Crypto is no longer just computer nerds talking mumbo jumbo about decentralization & “the blockchain” at conferences that everyone kicks themselves for not paying attention to earlier — it’s a fully-fledged, multi-trillion dollar industry, complete with mainstream media coverage and millions of people arguing about it on Twitter.

While the fan boys call crypto the “future of finance”, its critics denounce it as a giant Ponzi scheme. In short, I believe they’re both wrong.

To me, cryptocurrency seems to be something more like an internet-based religion, mixed in with technical gambling (“trading”), all wrapped up in a strange cyberpunk economy of value, which is ultimately being capitalized on by speculators as a way to make absurd amounts of money. . .

People are constantly zapped by these seemingly mythological statements that constantly obfuscate the fact that very little real world utility is being created in the world of cryptocurrency.

Right now, the total crypto market is currently worth a mind boggling $1.85 trillion, and world-leading financial institutions continue to throw more money into crypto with each passing day. . .

From what I can see, almost all large institutional involvement comes from FOMO more than it does from an actual investment strategy.

Matt Comyn, the CEO of Commonwealth Bank, Australia’s largest financial institution said it best:

“We see risks in participating, but we see bigger risks in not participating.” 

Ginsberg’s conclusion: Unless a crypto asset solves a measurable, real-world problem —it’s probably just another delusion peddled by a self-serving preacher in this strange, ever-growing digital religion.

  A “Real” Business Opportunity?


Gonzo Banker’s Ron Shevlin posted a column about lending in the metaverse: Entrepreneurial bankers have a chance to establish themselves as commercial metaverse lenders. Excerpts:

Claiming to be the first bank in the metaverse, JPMorgan announced the opening of a “lounge” in Decentraland. Upon entering the lounge—which was established by Onyx, the bank’s blockchain unit—visitors are greeted by a digital portrait of Jamie Dimon (which morphs into the image of the bank’s head of crypto) and a roaming tiger.

“Virtual branches are the next logical step for how financial institutions can utilize virtual reality. Imagine never having to take a break during working hours and wait in a line at the bank. Now imagine getting personalized banking service at the comfort of your home, when it’s convenient for you while enjoying a cup of coffee.”  

The two largest virtual worlds—The Sandbox and Decentraland—saw 86,000 virtual property transactions totaling $460 million in sales in 2021.

“Supply and demand dynamics are driving people into the meta-economy. Over time, the market for metaverse real estate could evolve in a similar way as the real estate market in the analog world. In time, the virtual real estate market could start seeing services much like in the physical world, including credit, mortgages, and rental agreements.”

The success of building and scaling in the metaverse is dependent on having a robust and flexible financial ecosystem that will allow users to seamlessly connect between the physical and virtual worlds.”

The Final Word

I give Warren Buffett the last word:  “Never invest in a business you cannot understand.”


Too Small, Too Short

There is an urban myth about a bet a group of writers and hangers-on made with Ernest Hemmingway one evening during a night of drinking in Paris.

His friends wagered that he could not write a short story in six words.  They each put over $100 in francs on the table.

Hemmingway took a napkin and wrote the following:

For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.

He won the bet.

Too Small-An Obsession with Numbers

A similar mindset exists in many organizations about the value of size.   Growing larger is the basic criteria for success.

I was reminded of this obsession with numbers, not from the siren calls for mergers among credit unions, but rather from an observation on the decline of churches in America:

A church with 1,000 people can be a dysfunctional mess, filled with shallow believers, making zero impact in their local community.

And a church of 30 people can live out the faith, change lives and be true to the Gospel.

Is my church too small? That’s the wrong question to ask.

Instead, ask whether your church is healthy?

Insert the word credit union for churches; repeat the question.



Love in the Time of War

By Joesph McLaughlin, Jr on  his 51st wedding anniversary.  (April 4, 2022)

Just as spring is putting on its mask,

The one that Edna* said, though beautiful,

Is not enough, except for April fools,

And just as we are throwing ours away,

The ones we hope to never wear again,

That kept us safe from coughs but not from war,

We cannot hide our eyes from suffering,


Reminded by the mask that’s on the screen

The greatest evils come not from without

But from within the hearts of men.  And yet,

By night we cleave together and by day

You do small things for me and I for you.

Yoshino blooms reach skyward like a prayer,

And April has made fools of us again.

Philadelphia, 2022


* Notes: “…The one that Edna said…” 

                            To what purpose, April, do you return again? 

                            Beauty is not enough;;;. 

                            Not only underground are the brains of men 

                            Eaten by maggots. 

                            Life in itself 

                            Is nothing…

                            It is not enough that yearly, down this hill, .  


                            Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

                                    From “Spring”, by Edna St. Vincent Millay


What Are Credit Unions to do When NCUA Messes Up?

Many NCUA management actions have limited direct impact on credit unions.  But when mistakes are made in a critical system component, the NCUSIF,  they can cost credit unions dearly.

The NCUSIF’s sole source of revenue is the earnings on its $20.5 billion investment portfolio of government securities.

The objectives of the NCUSIF’s current investment policy are clear:

The investment objectives of the NCUSIF are:

  1. To meet liquidity needs resulting from the operations of the Fund; and
  2. To invest, on a daily basis, any excess cash in authorized Treasury investments seeking to maximize yield.

The Investment Committee has fallen increasingly short of these objectives for at least the past 15 months. Results  have been contrary to these clearly stated goals.

The Numbers: $10 billion in New Investments in Two Years

At December 2019, the NCUSIF’s portfolio size was $16.02 billion of which $5 billion matured in two years or less.   At February 2022, the portfolio had increased to $20.5 billion.

Since  interest rates declined to historic lows in March 2020 at the start of the national economic shutdown, the NCUSIF has invested more than $10 billion ( 50% of its current portfolio) following a robotic 7-year ladder.

Today these $10 billion investments are worth less than par.  They cannot be sold without incurring market losses constraining the NCUSIF’s liquidity options as stated in objective 1.

At February 2022, the portfolio reports a total unrealized market loss of $343 million, a decline in value of over $ 800 million since December 2020.   The current unrealized loss will increase as rates  rise.  These declines since December 2020, easy to  see from the monthly market value disclosure. They also indicate that the portfolio’s yield is increasingly  falling behind market rates.

A $45 Million Dollar Mistake and Still Growing

The most recent investment of $650 million on February 15, 2022 for seven years at a fixed yield of 2.01% continues this mismanagement in the face of unanimous market indicators and Fed statements pointing to rising rates.

Today the seven year T-Note is near 3% yield.   Not only is this investment from just 60 days earlier worth less than par, the loss of income over the seven-year term is currently over $45 million. That is 1% (or higher yield pickup) times $650 million times seven years.

Credit unions and their members will pay the cost for these and other misjudgments that have resulted in at least half of the NCUSIF’s portfolio below market.  With a 3.5 year effective price duration, the portfolio will continue to decline in value by 3.5% for every 1% increase in the yield curve going forward.

The NCUSIF Investment Committee

The Board’s Policy delegates the implementation of the its two policy objectives to four of the agency’s most senior staff including:

Director of Office of Examination and Insurance, Chair

Chief Financial Officer

Director, Division of Capital and Credit Markets

Chief Economist

One would have hoped given the first quarter’s “Rout in the Bond Market” (WSJ headline), the continued inflation projections, the Federal Reserve’s frequent announcements of policy change, that someone would have called a timeout on this robotic investing ladder. The declines in market value are in plain sight; but more critical are  increasing constraints on future income possibilities, objective 2.

What Can Credit Unions Do?

The reason for monthly NCUSIF financial disclosures is so the fund’s owners who rely on NCUA management, can see the results and raise concerns with the board.

Credit union’s first responsibility is to speak up.  Directly communicate your views of this performance failure.  For your members will pay the cost of these misjudgments ($45 million and higher) potentially for years.

The reported results fall way short of policy.  What will the board do?   The committee seems unable to follow market trends, its own NEV data or internal IRR analysis (if any), or even to be aware of different portfolio options.

In public board meetings, staff is dismissive of change calling alternatives “market timing” when in fact the real issue is simply “investment management.” This is a responsibility every credit union is expected to perform in all phases of the interest rate cycle.

Assuming the board is incapable of monitoring and implementing its stated policy, then Congress is the next recourse.

The Damage to NCUA and the System’s Reputation


When NCUA and senior employees are oblivious to market trends, the situation raises questions about competency in many other areas of operational assessments and regulatory approvals.

Supervision requires judgments.  Policies nor rules can prescribe detailed actions. Ratio calculations can be written down but determining the correct numbers entails seasoned analysis.

The economy is in an inflationary period which some say has not been experienced for 40 years.  The Federal reserve’s balance sheet and its increase in money supply has never been larger.   Short term overnight rates are priced in forward markets as high as 3% in a year’s time.

There will be significant adjustments as credit unions transition their balance sheets to the new environment and as member’s see rising rate options.

There will be lots of hyperbolic forecasts and many forebodings in forthcoming months. After all, “preaching negativity makes you an expert” as one colleague used to say.

But credit union’s track record in the most extreme crises has been one of patient, experienced adjustments even when markets seemed to have lost all logic.

As NCUA’s enters this new cycle of interest rates, will its ability to make reasoned adjustments match credit union’s own track record?  This initial response in the comparatively simple management of a treasury portfolio, with just two clear policy goals, is not encouraging.

Can the agency learn from its own misjudgments?





Chevron, NCUA’s Authority, and Democracy’s Vulnerability

NCUA is an independent agency–in many senses of that term.  The most important is that the only governance oversight is via the three board members who serve 6-year terms ( or longer) once confirmed by the Senate.

NCUA raises all of its own revenue by taxing credit unions. It sets its own internal policies, manages  four separate funds, passes rules and regs requiring only two board votes, and enforces its own supervisory findings including starting and ending credit union charters.

The agency prepares its own legislation (rules), interprets its own authority and executes its supervision. There is no separation of these distinct functions as in the national government.

In individual credit union actions, NCUA is the prosecuting attorney, judge, jury and sentence enforcer.  There is no independent appeals process.  Congress has no control except the spotlight of public hearings-but no standing authority to make change.

Even in situations as mundane as FOIA denials, the same legal office that made the initial determination rules on the appeal.

This unlimited executive, legislative, judicial and enforcement activity all within a single bureaucracy has been described as the “fourth branch” of government or the “Administrative State.”

The Chevron Ruling

A new book on this issue has just been released.  The Chevron Doctrine describes  bureaucratic “rule” and the role of this Supreme Court precedent.

I outlined this topic in a blog NCUA and the Supreme Court calling attention to the current case (American Hospital Association (AHA) v. Becerra ) which could substantially reinterpret how courts defer to agency’s exercise of their authority.

One reviewer of Merrill’s book comments:  The author says the business of delegation is settled. He has to say this because the Constitution says Congress does not have right to delegate its powers, which it does every time it creates a new agency.

Instead of making the rules as required, it charges the agency with making the rules for itself, because Congress is dysfunctional and couldn’t possibly do this. But it’s illegal. And these agency-made rules then act as enforceable laws, which only Congress can create, at least according to the Constitution. Instead, Americans are enduring a fourth branch — the Administrative Branch — unrecognized in the Constitution.

The ruling this week by a Florida judge that the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) mask requirements for public transportation was illegal, is a rare example of a court overturning an agency’s requirements.

How This Affects Credit Unions

Credit unions have learned there is no recourse to NCUA’s actions or inactions. The agency’s directives from onerous exam DOR’s, financial interpretations imposing PCA ratios, and rules issued outside traditional statutory authority (e.g. the RBC/ CCULR capital regulation approved in December 2021) are the most obvious example of  NCUA’s unchecked authority.

However just as important as acts of commission are omissions, when NCUA fails to enforce its own fiduciary interpretations.  If a CEO and Chair of a credit union want to transfer $10 million of members’ capital to their own private firm upon merger, that’s OK with NCUA.

In merger after merger, members are misinformed, or not informed of the consequences of their vote. NCUA continues to approve rhetorical statements of good intentions in the required Member Notice with significant omissions of material facts, as a sufficient basis for member-owners to vote on their charter’s future.

One example: in  2021 members lost their voting rights for the board or approving  other corporate actions such as merger, when combing with a specific state charter and giving up their federal voting options.  There was no mention of this change in the merger material.

The Only Constraint

The only check and balance on NCUA’s actions or inactions is at the board level.   If individual board members do not raise the question of proper authority or about acts of omission, there is no accountability at the agency.

When Board member Mark McWatters, a lawyer, twice presented his legal analysis opposing  the agency’s risk based capital proposals as not authorized by statue, his reasoning was “overruled” twice by a simple board vote, 2 to 1.

Democracy is hard work.  The processes sustaining it are fragile.  Personal ambition and ideological views can override traditional norms of transparency, accountability and even term limits.

The motivations for the transition in 1977 of NCUA from a single Administrator to a three-person board was due to credit union concerns over the power of one person to determine the future of credit unions. Especially one who had a prior career as a Marine general.

The Supreme Court may limit the Chevron precedent and the unchecked administrative power of government agencies. In the interim this means the responsibility of individual board members is especially critical if some semblance of democratic accountability is to govern NCUA’s conduct.

A Person for the Ages

As long as there are credit unions,  persons of incredible talent, generosity and conviction will be drawn to leadership roles.  An example of this cooperative character is Marvel Eberhahn of Community Credit Union, New Rockford, North Dakota.

At her retirement celebration in December 2016 CU Today wrote a profile of her six-decade career as CEO.

Accompanying the story was an 8-minute video that shows the North Dakota setting and an extended interview with Eberhahn.   The video captures her personality formed by the prairie farmland which the credit union served.    The words demonstrate her spirit, practicality and love of community.

Her performance expectation for the credit union was straightforward:  “If we can’t be different, why are we here.”

Watch the video.  It provides  examples for how she implemented this belief, from saving a WW II veteran from a bank’s equipment foreclosure to keeping farmland in the family.

When she left her CEO role, the credit union was $!66 million in assets, a 9,000% growth from the $18,000 when she assumed her role.  Today Community is $192 million with three branches serving almost 5,000 members.

Here is the CU Today story, used with permission:

NEW ROCKFORD, N.D.–For the first time in 65 years, Community Credit Union here is preparing for a new CEO.

But before that happens, a new video shares Marvel Ebenhahn’s extraordinary history in credit unions, of days when the “credit union” was a filing cabinet, of difficult times trying to hold the family farm together, of tough times in a tough place, and through it all, of becoming an indispensable part of a community and overseeing 9,000% growth.

Ebenhahn will be retiring effective Jan. 1, 2017, after more than six decades on the job. Barb Messner, who is currently the CU’s operations manager, will take over as the second president in the credit union’s history.

Ebenhahn, however, is not fully retiring, and will be staying on at the credit union in an advisory capacity while also working as a loan officer with a less demanding schedule, which will allow her to spend more time at her retirement home in Arizona, according to the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas.

Few people in credit unions have ever overseen the kind of asset growth that Ebenhahn has seen during her career. When Ebenhahn joined the credit union, which serves rural Eddy County, N.D., it had $18,000 in assets and 250 members. Today it has $165 million in assets and nearly 6,000 members.

Founded in 1942, what was once operated out of a filing cabinet in the corner of a farm cooperative store now has three branches. Ebenhahn joined the CU in 1952 when it was known as Eddy County FCU.

“Marvel has been a mentor and inspiration for many credit union leaders throughout the decades here in North Dakota,” stated Jeff Olson, president/CEO of the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas (CUAD), in a statement.  “Not only does she embody the cooperative spirit of putting members first, she really epitomizes our wonderful, traditional ‘small town’ rural values of faith, family, community, and hard work,” he continued.

Unique & Inspiring

To illustrate what it is calling a “unique and inspiring story,” the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas has created a short documentary video that records in Ebenhahn’s own voice, the evolution of the credit union and the community.

“I think’s a safe bet that there aren’t very many credit union CEOs anywhere today that can boast a 9,000% increase in assets or a 2,000% increase in membership in their career,” remarked Olson, who’s voice provided the narration on the video.  “Nor can many match a span of 65 years of helping so many people in a small rural community.”

Marvel’s father was one of the original founders of the credit union, and she grew up with first-hand knowledge of the cooperative principals, the CUAD noted. Established in 1942, from its humble beginnings serving members of the Farmers Union Co-Op, the credit union evolved to a community charter so it could serve anyone who lived within a 50-mile radius of the town of New Rockford.  In 1962, 10 years after Ebenhahn joined the CU, it had grown to the point of needing its own building.

“The credit union soon gained a reputation for helping people that the banks had refused,” said the CUAD. “‘Go see Marvel’ became a common phrase in the community.”

Serving a rural farming community can mean tough times, and as the video makes clear the credit union has also had to make tough decisions, especially during the 1980s when agricultural markets hit hard economic times.

In the video Ebenhahn shares that it’s “not fun” to take away a farmer’s land. She said the CU’s policy has always been in cases where it had to foreclose to attempt to find someone else in the farmer’s family who might be able to take it over in order to “keep the family farm together.”

But in all cases the credit union’s interests had to be protected she said. “You can’t just charge off a loan because you like a guy,” Ebenhahn says in the video.

Olson, a 10-year veteran employee and president of CUAD, said he has had the opportunity to visit with Ebenhahn on many occasions.

“I would love to drop in on her credit union just so I could listen to some of her many stories of how the credit union was able to help so many people over the years,” he said in a statement.  “What is even more amazing is that she is making loans and doing business with grandchildren and great grandchildren of the people that first started the credit union. That’s why I thought it was important that we (CUAD) record Marvel so we could share her amazing story with today’s credit union leaders.”

The Ultimate Compliment

The CUAD reported several of its member credit unions have recently incorporated the video into their employee training programs – the ultimate compliment to Ebenhahn and her legacy.

“It’s amazing what people can do when they work together,” Ebenhahn says in the video. “I think I’ve been pretty lucky to have this job. To tell you the truth, I don’t think I’d want to do anything else. I’ve been blessed.”


When Will Easter Come to Ukraine?

The dark night of the soul.

HOPE:  From a world-wide community of faith that believes in their witness.


Hope from 3,000 years ago. Isaiah chapter 65:

New Heavens and a New Earth

17 “See, I will create
    new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
    nor will they come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever
    in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
    and its people a joy.
19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem
    and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
    will be heard in it no more.

20 “Never again will there be in it
    an infant who lives but a few days,
    or an old man who does not live out his years;
the one who dies at a hundred
    will be thought a mere child;
the one who fails to reach[a] a hundred
    will be considered accursed.
21 They will build houses and dwell in them;
    they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them,
    or plant and others eat.
For as the days of a tree,
    so will be the days of my people;
my chosen ones will long enjoy
    the work of their hands.
23 They will not labor in vain,
    nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune;
for they will be a people blessed by the Lord,
    they and their descendants with them.
24 Before they call I will answer;
    while they are still speaking I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
    and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
    and dust will be the serpent’s food.
They will neither harm nor destroy
    on all my holy mountain,”
says the Lord.