Posts Tagged ‘Edward Filene’

Ed Filene on embracing social media

August 30, 2011

There has been a long-running topic on about how to get management on-board with social media when they are dead-set against it. Over the last couple of years, many suggestions have been offered about ways to accomplish this objective.

My favorite so far comes from Andy Anderson, a credit union marketer in Atlanta this morning. He quotes Edward Filene:

“If you are going to do business, you will have to do it in this new world; and I haven’t lived in this new world any longer than you have. It is stranger, in fact to me than it is to you.”

Andy informs us: “This was his speech before the School of Business Administration of the University of Buffalo in 1936.”

These words that Edward spoke 75 years ago are as true and relevant today as they were then. I think that had Ed Filene lived in this day and age, he would have whole-heartedly embraced social media, and used it to spread the word about credit unions throughout the land.

Thank you for sharing this with us, Andy!

Credit Union acronyms totally harsh my mellow

June 14, 2008

The seeds for this blog post were sown by Christopher Morris, based in Madison, Wisconsin, who tweeted that he was incredulous that not everyone knew about the difference between CUNA and CUNA Mutual.

For those of you not knee-deep in credit union world, you probably didn’t even know that these two organizations even existed. And by some chance you have heard of CUNA, you most definitely didn’t know that there are two distinct organizations with different buildings, purposes, and personnel, located in Madison. (The buildings are located about two feet from each other in the same corporate park, but they are separate buildings, and both very large.) CUNA is the national trade organization for credit unions in the United States, and its primary goal is to advance the credit union movement, primarily through political advocacy. CUNA Mutual, now CUNA Mutual Group, or CMG for short (as if that is less confusing), is an insurance company, which provides insurance to credit unions and credit union members nationwide.

With names like CUNA and CUNA Mutual, you can understand why people might not have realized these two organizations are distinct. It’s really a bummer that the term “credit union” is two words, because it means that virtually any names that derive from it are going to be lengthy long. (Lengthy long is much longer than ordinary long and even longer than very, very long.) Because these names end up being a mouthful, insiders tend to reduce them down to their initialisms or acronyms. (Here’s the difference between these two terms, which I had not realized until yesterday.)

Because there are SO many of these credit union organizations, one MUST NOT give in to the temptation to shorten them. ESPECIALLY NOT TO THE PUBLIC, who has no clue what you are talking about, and is therefore easily confused by them. See which of this jumble of alphabet soup you are familiar with:

CUNA – Credit Union National Association
CUSO – Credit Union Service Organization
CUES – Credit Union Executives’ Society
CULAC – Credit Union Legislative Action Committee
CURIA – Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act
CUMIS – CUNA Mutual Insurance Society
CUMAA – Credit Union Membership Access Act
CUSC – Credit Union Service Centers
CCUE – Certified Credit Union Executive
CCACU – Combined Council of Automotive Credit Unions (presumably CACU is already taken, or too confusing with California Credit Unions?)
CUIAA – Credit Union Internal Auditors Association
CUSIP – Committee on Uniform Security Identification Procedures (Did we not already have enough acronyms with CU in them that we had to invent some more THAT DON’T EVEN STAND FOR CREDIT UNION? yeeeeesh.)
CLIC – CUIS Loan Insurance Components (CUIS is CUMIS minus Mutual?)
NCUA – National Credit Union Administration
NCUF – National Credit Union Foundation
NACUSO – National Association of Credit Union Service Organizationss
NASCUS -National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors
NACUSAC – National Association of Credit Union Supervisory & Auditing Committees
NACUC – National Association of Credit Union Chairmen
NCUIS – National Credit Union Income Services
NAFCU – National Association of Federal Credit Union
NCUSIF – National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund
NARCUP – National Association of Retired Credit Union People (I did NOT make that up!)
NASCCU – National Association of State Chartered Credit Unions
ITCUA – Information Technologies Credit Union Association
ACCU – Association of Corporate Credit Unions
ACUCE – America’s Credit Union Conference and Exposition
AACUL – American Association of Credit Union Leagues
ACUMA – American Credit Union Mortgage Association
OCCU – Office of Corporate Credit Unions
WOCCU – World Council of Credit Unions

Have your eyes glazed over yet? That’s not even getting into state credit union leagues, which nearly always use their initialisms to give us:

And all of this doesn’t even factor in that many, if not most, credit unions like to shorten their names as well. And in some cases, that has led to even more bizarre abbreviations such as DFCU Financial Credit Union (which if in turn were initialized would be DFCUFCU) and SOFCU Community Credit Union (which, if initialized would become SOFCUCCU). There are more than 8,000 credit unions in the United States. That’s 8,000 more abbreviations that use the letters C and U:

BECU • BCU • DCU • PSECU • UCU • USFCU • LCU • RCU • TFCU • VCU • KSFCU • TCCU • CCCU (there are 9!) • CCFCU • CCU (there are 14!) • ACU • AFCU • AHCU • BFCU • UMFCFCU and on and on and on and on and on…

By the way, you will never catch me referring to EverythingCU as ECU. Ever.

So while I adore you, Alphonse Desjardins, Edward Filene, Joseph Boivin, Monsignor Hevey, and the other founders of the movement, a curse on you for not figuring out a better name than “credit union” before it was too late to change it. But at least it’s better than Bank of the People, or else we’d be doomed with BOPs everywhere and in everything. And that’s much worse.

And thank you to TexasT for the Austin-hippy headline inspiration.

A Love Note on Your Special Day

October 17, 2007

So here we are on the eve of International Credit Union Day; a time to reflect and celebrate the credit union movement. In just over one month, it will be 99 years since the first credit union was founded in the United States.

In these days of trying times for credit unions, where interest margins are being squeezed, technology is progressing at dizzying speeds, and community charters are making competition stiffer than ever, I thought I would write a little love note to Edward Filene, Alphonse Desjardins, about why I get so fired up and passionate about this crazy movement, and why I love the people in it and those fighting to keep it fresh, relevant, and successful.

Consumers have changed dramatically over the last centuy. And credit unions need to change and keep up with the times, and with what their members expect of them today. Because broad things change slowly over time, we often miss the bigger picture.

Here’s the 30,000-foot view: The first credit union in the United States was started in November of 1908, and the majority of CUs were founded during the Great Depression, despite the banking industry’s best efforts to prevent them. During all of that time, life was hard for average working people, where men worked in mills for 10 hours per day, six days a week, and took home one dollar per day. Banks did not make loans to these workers. If you were very prosperous and somehow could get a bank loan, the rates would be sky-high, in some cases 25%. Banks were only interested in commercial lending, just as many still are. Regular people were simply not able, or could not afford, to get loans.

That’s the environment in which nearly all credit unions were founded. So the larger picture is that this wild and crazy idea that we could pool our money and make loans to each other, bypassing for-profit banks… well, it WORKED. The banks HAD to become more competitive in order not to lose ALL their personal business to credit unions, and they remain neck-and-neck competitive on rates with credit unions to this day.

So if credit unions did not exist, far fewer people could get loans, and those that did would have to pay far higher rates, thus slowing down our entire economy. So THANK YOU Credit Union professionals who go to work every day to make this country stronger by helping all of us help ourselves. Membership/ownership in credit unions is REAL and truly makes a difference to all of us, even if not all of our membership fully understands how special we are, and how important the work we do is to each member we serve, the community that we live in, and our entire economy.

Thank you to each of the thousands of credit union professionals across the world making a difference every day. May every credit union thrive and flourish for another 99 years.