Tuesday, January 1, 2013


This morning as I opened my eyes after a night of blissful dreams, I bid farewell to the holidays and set my gaze on a nascent new year and all that it might unfurl before me in the weeks and months to come. I pondered the lucky “13,” and wondered if life and its many experiences throughout 2013 would be any different from all years both past and to come.

As I got out of bed, and turned on the TV, I happened to catch one of the many commercials currently airing that promote America’s financial cooperatives—credit unions. The spot is part of a national branding campaign cooperatively managed and sponsored by credit union associations, credit union leagues, and food and electrical co-ops. It seems collaboration among all cooperatives has become the new norm, emerging from what many have discovered to be a golden opportunity for growth in both membership and services, coming of course, at the expense of corporations and big banks and the growing anger and mistrust consumers have of them.

Yes, life among cooperatives has changed dramatically. Now when I receive a check from any credit union organization and look at the name of the issuing financial institution, I no longer see the word, “bank.” Credit unions have not only learned to keep their money within the system, they also have come to realize that if they are to promote the value of their model over one benefitting shareholders, they ought to maintain their business checking accounts at another financial cooperative, not at a bank.

Credit unions and cooperatives are also applying the same mindset when it comes to staffing vacancies and selecting vendors. Going outside of the cooperative system no longer makes sense when there are already talented people within the system who bear allegiance to the cooperative business model and who are unemployed and eager to work. It’s no longer acceptable to look for products and services outside of the cooperative business model when there are already CUSOs and vendors within the system that can offer pricing and expert services exclusively aligned at meeting the needs of cooperatives. Why pay more and go outside of the system we now ask ourselves, when the same services or talent can be tapped from among credit unions and cooperatives at a much cheaper price and so many times at a value no one else can offer. 

In this new age of 2013, walking the talk has become the mantra for credit unions. We have seen that by holding ourselves ever more closely to the principles and values we espouse as a business model, we have finally not only discovered our true value proposition but have further developed a reputation for integrity and social justice within the American marketplace. And, it’s that reputation that’s attracting the attention and trust of consumers in ways that are startling Wall Street and inciting a new look at corporate America’s code of ethics . . .

BUZZZZZ, BUZZZZZ, BUZZZZZ. With a nice big yawn, I hit the snooze button and rolled over onto my side pondering the lucky “13,” and wondering if life and its many experiences throughout 2013 would be any different from all years both past and to come.

May all your dreams for 2013 come true! Happy New Year!