Credit Union Times ran an excellent profile of U-Lane-O Credit Union CEO Gordon Hoerauf in the May 30 issue under the headline, “Gordon Hoerauf: CUs are a movement, not an industry.” After reading this profile feature, I increased my appreciation of Hoerauf’s many contributions to credit unions. His remarks also got me reflecting about the whole issue of movement vs. industry terminology. Among one’s credit union’s social chores these days is deciding whether to refer to the diverse collection of credit unions in the United States as a “Movement,” “Industry,” “System,” “Network,” or whatever. Twenty-five years ago most credit union people referred to it as a movement, and they got upset if you used any other term. They believed that other labels like “industry” undermined credit unions’ unique cooperative not-for-profit financial service mission. Back then only those individuals who thought that credit unions were just like banks, or those individuals who wanted to stifle, tax, or sell to credit unions, referred to them as an industry. Over those same 25 years, we’ve seen various labels gradually become more acceptable within credit union circles and more prevalent in daily use. Each of these labels has a modicum of validity in describing credit unions. Most contemporary credit union practitioners continue to demonstrate the passion of a movement; they are extraordinarily industrious; they have devised extensive cooperative support systems; and they are certainly experts at networking to leverage their ability to serve their respective credit union memberships. The term “credit union community” is a politically correct compromise reference that embraces diverse perspectives and is unlikely to offend. Even credit union regulators are encompassed by this inclusive terminology. Credit unions are clearly a community in the sense that they share a compelling common interest in the personal financial health of their members. And as the bankers’ associations have learned, when credit unions’ core values are attacked, CUs will rally to each other’s aid in a classic demonstration of community support. Some of my friends think of credit unions as a movement; others think of credit unions as an industry, I concur with all of my friends in the credit union community. Marvin Umholtz Corporate Account Executive Electronic Data Systems Corporation Englewood, Colo.

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