Leadership: Woven from a Different Fabric

(from Jim Blaine)

It’s a bit difficult to explain to folks who never met him, what “a force of nature” Ed Callahan was as a person. 

 He had an unusual instinct for listening to difficult issues, considering alternatives and options, and then “cutting to the chase”- clearly, decisively, on-point.


When leaving his position as NCUA Chair in 1984, he wrote a “Farewell Address” to President Regan about his view of the credit union movement. 

For those looking for a defense against unnecessary taxation, a rebuke against inept and intrusive regulation, or a simple, concise statement of the hope and promise of “the credit union alternative”, Ed Callahan’s message still rings true:

“The only threat to credit unions is the bureaucratic tendency to treat them, for convenience sake, the same as banks and savings and loans.  This is a mistake, for they are made of a different fabric.  It is a fabric woven tightly by thousands of volunteers, sponsoring companies, credit union organizations and NCUA – all working together.”

“Credit union boards of directors have made, and will continue to make, individual and collective decisions from their vantage point on the front lines of the marketplace.”

When left alone, they return to what they do best; providing basic financial services to their members on the most convenient and cost-effective terms possible.”

Credit Unions: Woven From A Different Fabric.

(Originally published July 2013)

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