- Paul Thompson's new book on recent credit union history is out! I reviewed the manuscript a little while back, and the final product is a solid work of history that should be on the reading list of every American credit union board member and employee.
- Jeff Hardin has started a project looking into the history of African American credit unionism in North Carolina. Check out this CUiNsight post for more info.
- "The American Credit Union Industry Still Embodies Its Founding Values" by Stuart Levine is an interesting essay that draws a strong connection between an understanding of CU history and the movement's present values.
Monday, May 6, 2013
Saturday, December 8, 2012
As such, I believe that one of the most important challenges facing contemporary credit unionists is the development of methods by which the collapse in the social capital that accompanied the post-1969 trend of credit union professionalization can be reversed. In the above-linked essay I proposed one strategy: democratizing community giving. In this piece I will propose a second, parallel opportunity: time banking (see the below video for a brief introduction to the concept).
I made this connection at the Vermont New Economy Conference last week, when, after the Cooperative Vermont convergence, I decided on a whim to attend the session on time banking. I'd heard of the concept before, but had never really given the model much thought. Happily, the presentation and subsequent discussion were extremely illuminating, and it quickly became apparent to me that time banks could be a powerful tool for strengthening the web of members' social inter-relations (i.e., social capital) within a cooperative organization.
Practically, a co-op/credit union time bank could work as follows. Using one of several existing open-source platforms, the organization would set up a time bank on a section of its website and create accounts for all of its members. Members would then have the opportunity to post both services they'd be willing to perform, as well as things they need done, and they would be able to use the site to keep track of how many hours they'd given to, and received from, others. As all of the participants would be co-op/credit union members and the system's infrastructure would be administered by the institution, every helping act facilitated by the time-bank would thus serve to increase the salience of the participating members' relationship with their co-op, while also increasing the organization's overall social capital by fostering new intra-membership relationships that had not previously existed.
In any case, the proof will be in the pudding; at the end of the session, a group of folks from my town got together and decided to develop a proposal to attempt to implement such a system through one of our local cooperative organizations. We'll be pitching it to the board on the 17th, so keep your eye out for updates as the project progresses!
Friday, October 26, 2012
Knowing my love of all things credit union, my partner recently went on Etsy to find me a birthday present. After a bit of browsing, she stumbled upon a New Jersey Credit Union League glass that some crafty person had turned into a scented candle. Probably made in the 1960s or before (since the "Little Man with the Umbrella" was retired as an official logo in the middle of that decade), the glass is a nifty window into the past, and I'm looking forward to using it to toast the memory of Bergengren once the candle is kaput...
Sunday, August 26, 2012
|The First CU Office!|
|Toking for Economic Democracy?|
|Fancy seeing you here...|
|The view from Levis ain't bad, either... All photos courtesy of Allison Curran|
Thursday, August 2, 2012
|Roy and Matt at the entrance of the original LECU|
|The office was on the second floor|
Thursday, June 28, 2012
...But do the Credit Unionists of America recognize their own historic part in this never-ending movement toward true democracy? Toward the liberation of humanity, and its rise to yet undreamed of heights, not by destroying great and useful powers which are used to oppress it, but by discovering how to use those powers for the common good.
As we celebrate the birthdays of Washington and of Lincoln, it is my hope that Credit Unionists at least will not be content with the mere recital of victories won. These are the two greatest names in our National history; but they are great because they dared to look forward, and it is dishonoring, not honoring such names, to celebrate their birthdays merely by looking back.
May each of us Credit Unionists remember, then, that he is not merely one of a little local group, which has discovered a convenient way of meeting certain little credit problems. We are enlisted units, rather, in a great and growing army of liberation, destined not to destroy the money power or even quarrel with it, but to discover how this power which necessarily controls the lives of people in this machine age may be used most effectively by the people for the people's interests.
To discover that, it was necessary to begin with the little local circle. Until we learned the first lessons, we could not go into the higher grades. But money is power only when it is used. To use it most effectively, we must use it constantly; and as our resources grow, we must learn how to deploy them in ever greater and more comprehensive ways. ...
Monday, June 4, 2012
However, for the last month, that effort has been sidelined by developments in my increasingly surreal attempt to run for the board of directors of my credit union, Vermont Federal, which is looking like it might end up in legal action due to shenanigans on the part of the incumbent board. If you're interested in all of the nitty gritty details, check out the VFCU Members Assembly blog. If you're waiting for some fresh credit union history posts, the vote will take place on June 7th, after which I'll start into the Bridge project in earnest.