Edward Filene…..what would he say about this economic crisis?

I imagine he would point out that this is why credit unions started in the first place. Banks had gotten out of control, they didn’t care about the well-being of the average American and only catered to big business. Loan sharks were rampant, the depression was looming. He stepped up and began convincing people to pool their resources, take them out of banks and to form credit unions.

He called it “people helping people” and that together we can do more than we could do separately. Those who have the means could safely deposit their money in their credit union, so that those that needed to borrow (for provident and productive purposes only) could have access to reasonable credit. There was a kind of shame built in if you did not repay. A good kind, because you were, after all, borrowing money from friends and co-workers (just in a less awkward way).

The goal was to help families live within their means and to borrow for the things they needed, not necessarily wanted. Like a refrigerator, a car, washer/dryer, seed. Promoting thrift is back, with a vengeance. Saving for a down-payment on a home (and car) will be the norm again. Paying yourself first when signing up for direct deposit to your checking – you remember…drop a little in savings? Christmas club accounts that take an act of Congress to withdraw from (and we all know how hard that can be) will return.

Good times are ahead for credit unions Edward would say. It’s a rebirth of sorts.

CUES has emerged as the modern-day wealthy Boston merchant IMHO. They are urging executives to come to their own Estes Park (okay, it’s Vegas now) and have the important discussion about where we go now. This is an historic time. If your credit union cannot afford to register for this event, it does not matter. CUES says “Pay what you can” because this is that important.

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