Real Life (And Death) CU Stories

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One of the themes of the conference was the need for credit unions to tell their stories, so CUNA invited Patrick Adams of St. Louis Community Credit Union to serve as a CU troubadour.

Adams related the story of Hawaiian Air Depot FCU, which became the first credit union to ever come under enemy fire when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941.

The credit union's treasurer lost his life in a desperate dash across Hickham Field in an attempt to save the CU's records during the bombing. Some 90% of members' passbooks had to be reconstructed entirely from memory because they were in the vault, which was destroyed when the bombs struck. "Not a single member refused to sign a new note" on loans for which there were no viable records following the attack, he said.

More recently, Navigator Credit Union in Pascagoula, Miss. made a small loan to one of its members so she could stop working. It may seem counterintuitive to make a loan to a member who is trying to stop working, but in this case, the member's husband was being deployed overseas with his military reserve unit, and she wanted to be able to spend as much time with him as possible before he left.

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