How Does This Demographic Trend Affect Your Strategy?

The chart below shows that the formation of married families is occurring later in life for both genders. It is a long term generational trend.

One question would be to ask why? And will the trend continue?

If yes, what will be the impact on credit union strategy? Both the impact on member demand for certain loan products and the changing pattern of employees’ career planning?

Timeless Wisdom in a Time of Disconnects

“There are some serious disconnects going on. Ones that imperil the safety and soundness of credit unions. One is the disconnect between members and their credit unions. The other is between credit unions and their regulators. 

Organizations such as credit unions are market driven. Regulatory systems are bureaucratic and not market driven. The regulators are not so cognizant of just how rapid the changes in the real world are. They are just focused on a bookkeeper’s definition of safety and soundness.”

– Ed Callahan, May 1999

Timeless Wisdom in a Timely Moment

“I feel the wind blowing, and it’s blowing in the favor of monopoly. You can feel it in tele-communications; you can feel it in banking. It is an ill wind.

Credit unions are small. Yes, very small. But it is vital that America not say they are too small to be worth the effort of keeping them around. Because if nothing else, credit unions keep alive a principle; that principle is freedom of choice.”

– Ed Callahan, June 1997

Timeless Wisdom Following NASCUS’ 2020 Virtual Summit

“I think if you took the pulse of credit unions today, you would discover two feelings: worry over the growing authority of NCUA; and a desire for more flexibility than now exists under the charter options . . . The best remedy to this climate is a vigorous dual-chartering system, that is, both a vibrant federal chartering option and a vibrant state-chartering, non-federal share insurance. Danger grows if there is only one option. Such a climate breeds bureaucracy and lazy thinking.”

– Ed Callahan, May 2000

The 19th Amendment Helps Enfranchise a Movement

The legacy of credit union pioneer Louise Herring (1909-1987) is vital to the creation of the modern day credit union movement. As summarized in her alma mater’s profile, she managed Kroger’s first credit union and founded a dozen more while helping to charter over 500 credit unions in her five decades of activity. To support these nascent charters, she formed local chapters, the Ohio League and the private insurance alternative known today as ASI.

Most importantly she was the youngest woman to attend the Estes Park Conference in 1934 which founded the Credit Union National Association.

More Than the Sum of Her Accomplishments

Through the force of her personality, she shared her passion for credit unions in all circumstances. The following is a story from the book Sharing the American Dream, published by the Credit Union Executive Society.

It is a small but typical example of how the 19th amendment created possibilities for women’s leadership benefiting all Americans far into the future.

Neither snow nor jail could stop Herring

by Louise McCarren Herring

This excerpt comes from the book “Sharing the American Dream,”  from the Credit Union Executives Society.

I almost always organized credit unions at a change of a shift or before or after working hours. One night, I went to a meeting of teachers in Columbus, Ohio. The meeting ended about 9 p.m., and since I had scheduled a meeting with the Dayton, Ohio, police for early the next morning when the late shift went off and the first shift came on, I decided to drive the 70 miles to Dayton that night. Even though it was snowing and most people would have said in those days that it was foolish to drive at night, I started out.

I got to the outskirts of Columbus and saw a streetcar parked at what I thought was the end of the line. I passed the streetcar and was immediately stopped by the police for passing a streetcar that was loading and unloading.

An officer took me back to headquarters downtown where I was told I either had to pay a fine, post bond or go to jail. Because of the snowy night, many officers were sitting around either coming off duty or waiting to go on. They listened as I explained that I could do none of these things because I had to be in Dayton early the next morning to organize a credit union for the police force there.

As I explained what a credit union was and the good it could do for working people, the officers sitting around started to pitch money up on the table to pay my fine. I made each person who contributed to my fine give me his name and address so I could repay him. Finally enough money came in to pay the fine and I was dismissed, with a date to return to organize a credit union for them.

They thought the idea was so good they were willing to pay to have a credit union organized. It gave me the opportunity to tell them, as I have told so many groups, that no one should pay to get a credit union.

(Roy) Bergengren and (his colleague Edward) Filene had secured the laws and organized the credit unions as a public service. Those who received this service without cost or obligation had a responsibility to see to it that anybody who wanted a credit union should get it just as they did — without cost or obligation.

Bergengren often paid lawyers and other local people to organize credit unions. He never paid me because I felt it was a great privilege to organize credit unions in the hours I was not working on a full-time job.

The first credit union I organized was for the members of the Brotherhood of Railway Clerks. I knew nothing about organizing credit unions so I spent the entire meeting reading aloud the bylaws and explaining the brief but exciting history of the credit union movement. Later on, I was able to cut down the time it took to organize a credit union.

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From the Field: Democratic Governance Makes a Difference

Hi Chip. I recently joined a credit union and received something in the mail I thought I’d share with you.

The following was in a welcome letter:

We want you to know that you are much more than a customer – you now belong to a family of 200,000 members who cooperatively own [credit union’s name]. Ownership gives you an equal voice to elect our Board of Directors…

How many other credit unions encourage this participation? 


The Volunteer Spirit

In July, the Library of Congress finished a crowd sourced project to complete the transcription of over 10,000 documents in its collection of Lincoln papers.

Most are letters with complaints, pleas, job requests and military reports. Some are in French, German or Italian. Many are personal such as the desire of a Navy Officer to marry, to which Lincoln responded to the Secretary of the Navy: “please allow him the requisite leave of absence, if the public service can safely endure it.”

One of the most stunning messages for me was a letter from a 65-year old would-be Army volunteer from western New York. He wrote in March 1864:

Father Abraham

I am 65 years old am able to do a fair days work (not the hardest kind of work) day after day am willing to go to the army, or rather into some fort or Garison, where there will be no long marches, was never a good traveler but worker will help you work out our national salvation will go free of any charge to Government except travel and rations Avery Coon is a stout man of about my age will go too to a Fort or Garison he may need the usual pay will be a good hand

We have Faith in God and dry Powder

Truly Yours Daniel Edwards

The question for credit unions: What is the belief and “dry powder” motivating your volunteers?