Time for Another Corporate Miracle
Forty years ago, credit unions created something that actually turned out to be a miracle: the corporate credit union system.
Of course, they didn’t know it would be a miracle in the beginning. They created something out of nothing ever seen before in the financial history of our country–a wholesale financial entity created for service, not for profit. The leagues and CUNA were the prime movers of this initial effort. Without them, it might never have happened.
But the very efficiency of the system created one problem that would come to haunt us. It functioned so well that credit unions became complacent. They didn’t have to think about it, and in fact, many board members never understood why this system had come about or what drove its success. How many people really reflect on something that works fine, like the air we breathe or the light that comes on with a flick of a switch? This complacency caused a problem.
When the national economy began its meltdown a few years ago, who could have predicted it? President Bush in his book, Decision Points, wrote he was caught by complete surprise. The Federal Reserve, Treasury, AIG, Lehman Brothers, Wall Street, private investors, the rating agencies, the NCUA and nearly everyone else had no idea what was coming or how severe this economic downturn would be.