In light of the turmoil that faces our industry, I find it somewhat galling that the credit union movement continues to shoot itself in the foot on a much more frequent basis. From NAFCU deciding to help deliver ammunition to our banker friends by involving itself in a state insurance issue to credit unions actively attacking each other in advertising campaigns. From the swamps of Florida to the mountains of Colorado, at what point does our movement decide that if we go it alone we will be as effective as a subprime lender in the Hamptons.
It is time for our industry leaders to come together and determine what is best for the 87 million members in United States. If we can't get enough commitment behind the first piece of pro-credit union legislation, how do we expect our elected officials to jump on board. Our movement is at a very distinct crossroads. Consumer groups everywhere are looking for "The White Hat" to lead the fight against predatory lending, financial literacy and the mortgage market morass. Isn't that why most of us love the credit union difference because we are supposed to help people.
If we allow small thinking to dominate our movement the bankers will smile and continue to control 94% of all banked assets and will we continue to fight each other over the scraps? As the demographics of our membership change we have to find a way to establish an identity that reflects the values of credit unions. Our industry is rife with leaders who have been visionaries, we need to champion these ideas, ideals and progress for the good of our members. Bold actions are required from a possible national branding campaign to membership growth to product innovation to the development of political capital, but if we spend all our time fighting each other we may find that our movement soon resembles the Edsel.
Dean C. Wilson
Wauwatosa Credit Union