About I’m Just a Member Now

In 1977 I began an eight-year career as a credit union regulator. First, as supervisor of credit unions in Illinois, followed by federal oversight as NCUA’s Director of the Office of Programs (CLF, NCUSIF, and Examination Policy) in Washington DC.

These experiences inspired Ed Callahan, Bucky Sebastian (my regulatory colleagues) and me to start Callahan and Associates in 1985. Our intent was to help credit unions take advantage of the uncharted opportunities provided by  the deregulation of financial institutions in the 1980s.

Our experiences taught us that cooperative design is unique. It provides singular focus on  member-owner value.  Member relationships are the foundation for credit union sustainability.

Enhancing member participation in credit unions is vital to maintaining a distinct cooperative choice for consumers.  This democratic “governance” is critical to sustaining cooperative originality.

This blog shares my observations about cooperatives’ roles for consumer-owners in the American economy. I highlight the responsibility of all participants in the credit union system to enhance this ever-expanding legacy of  generations of common wealth  “paid forward” for future members.

Now, as just a member, these posts are inspired by the passion and commitment of  all with whom I have traveled these past four decades.  I am grateful for their examples of doing good with the legacy we all build upon.

About Chip Filson

A nationally recognized leader in the credit union industry, Filson is an astute author, frequent speaker, and consultant for the credit union movement. He has more than 40 years of experience in government, financial institutions, and business. Filson’s experience makes him an authority on a range of topics, including analysis of credit union trends, credit union public and market-facing opportunities, and strategies for enhancing member value. His belief in the cooperative movement has made him an advocate for  corporate credit unions,  dual chartering, CUSO’s and regulatory reform of NCUA.

Background: After serving 4 ½ years active duty in the US Navy, Filson joined the First National Bank of Chicago’s International Banking Department, He worked three years for the bank’s representative office and finance subsidiary in Australia.  In 1977 he joined the Illinois Department of Financial Institutions as the Supervisor of the Credit Union Division. In 1981,  he joined  colleagues Ed Callahan and Bucky Sebastian at NCUA implementing the deregulation of  credit unions in response to the economic crisis of that time.   At the Agency, Filson held concurrent positions as President of the Central Liquidity Facility (CLF) and Director of the Office of Programs, which included management of the NCUSIF and the agency’s examination process

Among his contributions  at NCUA were the stabilization and redesign of the NCUSIF using cooperative principles;  the full capitalization of the CLF; the implementation of an annual examination program; and the computerization of the NCUA’s call report system.  With his colleagues Callahan and Sebastian, he left NCUA in 1985 to cofound Callahan and Associates.  The firm is the premier source for data and  strategic analysis of the credit union system.

Filson holds a magna cum laude undergraduate degree in government from Harvard University. After being awarded a Rhodes Scholarship in 1966, he received a master’s degree in politics, philosophy, and economics from Oxford University, England. He earned an MBA in management from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School in Chicago

His decades of posts while leading Callahan’s can be found at https://chipfilson.com/publications.