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CUNA Mutual Chief Economist Dave Colby then and now, pictured at left as a new hire in the 1970s and at right in a current photo.

It was 1977, the same year David Colby joined CUNA Mutual Group. A gallon of gas cost 65 cents, the average price of a new home hovered near $50,000 and the first Apple computer went on sale.

Colby, 59, who will retire from CUNA Mutual July 11 as chief economist after 37 years of service, painted a very different picture of the credit union movement back then. In July 1977, there were roughly 22,480 credit unions with average assets of $2.2 million, compared to today’s 6,700 credit unions with average assets of $167 million, he said.

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