Credit Union Signpost FadesAway

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BOSTON - (08/01/05) -- In a move more symbolic thanmeaningful, the giant Federated Department store chain said lastweek it plans to remove the nameplate on 330 of its Hecht's, Meier& Frank, Robinsons-May, Lazarus and Strawbridge stores stores,as well as 62 Filene's in the northeast, and replace them with aMacy's sign. The move means the continued diminishment of theFilene name, the once preeminent name in retailing, and, of course,one of the founders of the credit union movement. "It's funny,people in the credit union movement don't really know about what agiant in the retail industry Edward Filene really was," Bob Hoel,director of the credit union think tank, the Filene ResearchInstitute, told The Credit Union Journal. Among the innovationsFilene brought to the world of labor relations was minimum wages;equal pay for women workers; profit sharing; workers compensation,discount 'basement' stores; and a financial cooperative allowingworkers to pool their savings, according to Hoel. It was thecreation of workers' financial cooperatives that Filene dedicated agreat portion of his life and savings--as much as $1 million--andculminating in the passage of the Federal Credit Union Act and thecreation of CUNA. But the Federated name change does not mean theFilene name will disappear altogether from retailing, as more thantwo dozen Filene's Basement stores, which were spun-off from theparent company in 1988, will retain the moniker.

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