This entire discussion about credit unions not using the term “banking” is ridiculous, and I’m sure the bankers are getting a great laugh about it. There is no other English word that can be substituted. Financing? Crediting? Credit Unioning? No American citizen is going to change his or her basic vocabulary because we have become hypersensitive to the generic meaning of the word “banking.” Look at the etymology and you’ll see the effort is doomed to failure. The word “bank” -to mean a “financial institution” – first occurred in 1474 and is probably derived from the Old Italian “banca” which meant “table” (the notion is of the moneylender’s exchange table). In Old High German the word meant “bench.” So I suppose we could call what we do “tabling” or “benching,” but in English, neither of them has a particularly pleasant connotation. Even if one looks to foreign languages to find a substitute, the search is fruitless because they all derive from the root word for bank: * German: bankverkehr * Spanish: actividades bancarias * French: operations bancaires * Italian: operazioni bancarie * Portuguese: operaao bancria Let’s move on to more productive discussions like how to keep credit unions from betraying their members by turning themselves into thrifts; how to get CURIA passed; or how to help legislators understand that the basic structure of credit unions as cooperatives is the reason why they should not be taxed. Sharon E. Hockensmith Research Manager, Planning & Devel. Wescom Credit Union Pasadena, Calif.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to, part of your ALM digital membership.

Your access to unlimited content isn’t changing.
Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Critical information including comprehensive product and service provider listings via the Marketplace Directory, CU Careers, resources from industry leaders, webcasts, and breaking news, analysis and more with our informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and CU Times events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

Already have an account?


Credit Union Times

Join Credit Union Times

Don’t miss crucial strategic and tactical information necessary to run your institution and better serve your members. Join Credit Union Times now!

  • Free unlimited access to Credit Union Times' trusted and independent team of experts for extensive industry news, conference coverage, people features, statistical analysis, and regulation and technology updates.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and Credit Union Times events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join Credit Union Times

Copyright © 2023 ALM Global, LLC. All Rights Reserved.