Celebrating CU Trailblazers
CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica presented Cathie Tierney, president/CEO of Community First Credit Union, with an award for suing the IRS over the levying of the unrelated business income tax on the sale of certain financial products. A jury recently ruled in favor of the Appleton, Wis.-based credit union, though the government has appealed.
Kathleen Pelletier, the granddaughter of credit union movement founding father Roy Bergengren, praised her grandfather as "tenacious and determined" with a mission to create.
Bergengren worked closely with Edward Filene to spread the gospel of credit unions and to persuade Congress to enact the Federal Credit Union Act in 1934. Later that year, CUNA was started.
The memory of Filene, a Bostonian who died in 1937, an entrepreneur and a social activist who is considered the founding spirit of American credit unions, was prevalent throughout the conference.
Several spoke of his work; people affiliated with the think tank named for him spoke and his picture was one of several on the wall of the main stage.
In addition to Bergengren and Filene, the third historical credit union figure mentioned was the late Sen. George Norris (R-Neb.).
David Landis, a former Nebraska state legislator, portrayed Sen. Norris in a 45-minute monologue on Norris' life and the history of the credit union movement. Norris was a key sponsor of the Federal Credit Union Act.