Why Time Is A Friend To Credit Unions

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In this, the centennial anniversary of credit unions, I can think of many examples throughout my 22 years in the credit union world that personify the credit union spirit.  But perhaps none so singularly as a recent mortgage modification. In this instance, one of our members had begun to have difficulty making his mortgage payments. Our staff reached out to him and discovered he is a member with special needs and is confined to a wheelchair. Because of the unique accommodations that he requires in his home, keeping him in it was particularly important. I have great satisfaction in knowing that our efforts have helped him during this challenging time.

Because of the nature of our industry, I am confident that other credit unions are experiencing many similar situations. I am confident that they, too, will rise to meet their members' needs. I believe that our century of service to members will serve us well as we continue to weather these challenging economic times. Our tradition of service and prudent business practices will continue to be our defining characteristics and continue to draw new members to us.

Warren Buffett has said, "Time is the friend of the wonderful company, the enemy of the mediocre." That certainly applies to credit unions as they celebrate their centennial anniversary, and it speaks volumes regarding the fundamentals of credit unions and their commitment to their core principles. Certainly, we are not without our challenges, and some CUs have been impacted more than others in this market, but overall our strength cannot be diminished by time. We must continue to stand by the principles that have helped us endure earlier economic hardships like the Great Depression and from which we have emerged even stronger.

The poet Virgil wrote that "all bad fortune is to be conquered by endurance." After 100 years, I believe we have demonstrated we certainly can endure. Going forward, we must continue to demonstrate our commitment to excellence and look for the opportunities in this new landscape to create our legacy for the next 100 years.

Brad Beal is chairman of NAFCU and president of Nevada FCU in Las Vegas.

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