From Frank


There is maybe a decade left before the long civil war between credit unions and banks comes to an end. By the mid-2020s, NCUA will be gone, swept into a super-regulator that also oversees banks and other financial institutions, according to one person.


One-hundred-million American credit union members? Nice, but that’s so 2014. So as 2015 debuts, will be leading the charge in the New Year on a new issue: “Now what?”


They deserve so much more than being cold digit data points with no life beyond a cell in an Excel spreadsheet. 13. 18. 12. 219. So let’s not forget them. “They” are the number of credit unions that disappear in mergers, the acquired, not the acquirer, anonymous and forgotten each month and then, to pile on some CAMEL-sized ignominy, buried even more anonymously in the year-end numbers.


It’s not talk the talk and walk the walk—unless someone balks. If credit unions aren’t going to stick up for credit unions, who, exactly, is going to?


There are a lot more of you reading this. And for that we say thank you. Let me explain. Last week reported the Q3 numbers for credit unions, which showed strong growth across all loan categories. But it isn’t just credit unions where the numbers are robust; is seeing more traffic than a mall parking lot this holiday season.


Credit Union Land, welcome to Creepy Town. “Omnichannel” got a lot of the focus during the recent BAI Retail Delivery Show in Chicago, but creepy “omnipresence” might have been more fitting. Belief in a supreme being may be slowly ebbing away in the United States, but three days at this trade show proves financial institutions believe they can fill the void.


You don’t exactly need a postgraduate degree from the University of Tea Leaves to figure out that several members of the NCUA board think credit unions and their trade associations are being just a wee bit hypocritical in their demands for more “transparency” from the agency when it comes to the budget.


There was so much irony and envy on hand last week that it required a building with 2.6-million square feet of meeting space just to handle it all.

First, the irony. For a large conference with the name “bank” in it, for all the thousands of “bankers” from around the world who were on hand, and for all the references to the “banking” industry, if you listened carefully during the Bank Administration Institute’s Retail Delivery Show you might have noticed it was “credit unions” that so many people were talking about. Even if no one used those words—or even realized what was right beneath their noses.


When it comes to credit unions’ involvement in politics and advocacy, two interesting statements were made almost simultaneously that should really cause the whole CU community to pause and think for a moment.