Last week I asked if credit unions today needed a prophet’s wisdom. I was motivated by one of C-Span programs which presents recordings of historical speeches by leaders at important moments in American history.
Hearing the original voices of leaders summoning their listeners to action still inspires today. The experience is both fruitful and edifying.
The reason is that the truths contained within these appeals transcend time. They are not merely words that endure in time, they are words that are beyond time. Their underlying truths do not change with circumstance, nor are they changed by it.
The actions called forth do not merely meet the challenge at a moment in time; they are the standard by which time itself is tested.
The paradox is that the timeless is always timely. If it is timeless and, if it’s always true, it is always relevant.
The Context for Chairman Callahan’s 1984 GAC Address
The 1980-1982 economic crisis was over. Interest rates and inflation were in back to single digits. Deregulation was well underway. Credit union growth and financial performance led all financial institutions.
The NCUA’s DC bureaucracy had been reorganized to reduce central office roles and put the six regional directors in positions of administrative leadership. The CLF had been capitalized in partnership with the corporate network so that every credit union had access.
There was a common commitment by the cooperative system to support expanding credit unions services to all Americans through new charters and increased FOM options on the 50th anniversary of the Federal Credit Union Act.
But there was one institutional innovation still needed to solidify an independent and sound cooperative system. This was the primary topic of Chairman Callahan’s 1984 GAC presentation.
He called on credit unions to “Finish the Job.” Here is a recording of that request which which is 12 minutes following CUNA President, Joe Cugini’s brief introduction.
The call was answered. Today the NCUSIF is still the example of insurance that has stood the test of time.