Remembering Callahan: Philosophy Was Spot On and Still True

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I met (former NCUA Chairman) Ed Callahan very briefly at a credit union conference in California several years ago — he was recognized from the podium and then asked to speak for a few minutes by the organizers of the conference — just a couple of friendly random comments.

They got more than they bargained for.

Ed was riled up — big time. He gave us his background, which was quite enlightening to me as I only new bits and pieces of his history within the credit union movement, and then steamed full-forward into what was wrong with credit unions today and what we need to do NOW to get us back on track.

He was furious. He was ripping and raging. He was absolutely RIGHT. Two comments he made that day still are ingrained in my memory-they were absolutely spot on at the time and, unfortunately, still true today:

1. He said EVERY SINGLE board of directors should have one sign, and only one sign hanging in the board room, to look at during every board meeting: " It's about the Member, Stupid."

2. And then he fussed, "Too many CEO's live in terror of their IT Department, and too many decisions are based not on what's best for the member, but what is easiest for IT-this has got to STOP!

I am honored that I had a chance to meet him, and even more so blessed for having had the privilege to hear him speak.  He could push people's buttons, he could step on some toes, but he was clear — it was ALWAYS about the member and the movement.

I like that in a person — especially a credit union person.

Deb McLean
VP, Marketing And Business Development
Carolina Postal Credit Union
Charlotte N.C.

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