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On Nov.11 Peter Drucker, 95, died in his sleep at his home in Claremont, California. Drucker has been called the Father of Modern Management. And even in his 90′s, Time magazine recognized him as one of the youngest minds. He will be missed. And I’m scared. Who will lead us now? Drucker was passionate about nonprofits. He once said, “Every nonprofit organization exists for the sake of performance in changing people and society.” He was talking about credit unions. For those of you who don’t remember, credit unions were formed out of a need. People with a truly common bond (school teachers, postal workers, railroad employees) volunteered their time to manage their co-workers’ money so they could get good rates on their deposits and more importantly so they could loan money to these public servants at a reasonable rate. But now the obsession is with growth. The word on the credit union street is if you’re not $300 million, you’re toast. Drucker on growth: “It is not necessary for a business to grow bigger, but it is necessary that it constantly grow better.” We were chartered to promote thrift and to make loans for prudent and productive purposes. That was our social mission. Edward Filene’s ideals did not include constant growth (as in assets and profits) but rather to serve the needs of the common bond. I never met Mr. Drucker. And now I never will. I would like to ask him his opinion on the state of credit unions. What would Peter say about credit unions who use the low-income designation to get territory with no real plan to serve those people? It is like taking in foster kids for the checks. What would he say about all these credit unions getting large community charters with no plan to serve all segments? I understand why many credit unions needed to expand their field of membership.Our challenge now lies in finding a cause in the communities we serve. Credit unions were formed to help people. Not to make loans, per se. And yet our focus has become less on the person and more on the paper. Is it just me, or do some of you see the irony in hiring people to teach us how to do payday loans? There is no greater proof, in my opinion, that we’ve lost our way. Peter Drucker was asked what the purpose of business is in society. If you answered, “To make a profit” you would be wrong. “Profit seeking is not the cause of management decisions but the test of their validity. There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create and keep a customer.” Our customers are the owners. It’s not our money, it is theirs. We are just here at this moment in time being paid to manage it. Where’s a wealthy Boston merchant when you need one? Denise Wymore Brand Consultant Seattle, Wash.

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