Frivolous Friday: Credit Unions and bands from the 70s.

When I teach the legal aspects of social media, I usually ask the audience what the hardest part of doing a credit union blog is.  The answer?  Generating the content. You would not think that slapping up 400 words worth of blah blah would be that hard a couple of days a week.  But there’s a catch. It’s not 400 words of blah blah, it’s 400 words that are either informative, entertaining or both.  Otherwise no one comes back.

Since this is a Frivolous Friday post, I can feel free to reach a little bit and that’s what I am going to do.  I am taking my wife to see Dennis DeYoung tonight.  Those of you who know music are probably laughing.  To music aficionados, Styx is no longer thought of as a cool band and many of you might be thinking:  “were they ever?”  Yes, there was a time in small town America during the late ’70s and early ’80s when Styx was highly regarded.  In fact, that time period was their heyday before people began rejecting all those synthesizers and dramatic vocals. Nonetheless, Styx remains in popular culture occasionally popping up in commercials or cartoons.  Styx was over the top even by ’70s band standards, with not just one but two talented lead singers.  Today those singers are touring separately the one I’m seeing tonight is definitely the more theatrical of the two.

Which brings us to the tie-in.  Are credit unions cool still?  Were they ever?  If not, when was their heyday?  I would say that credit unions might have come into a little bit of coolness with the whole bank transfer day thing last year. That is, until people see that your typical credit union is often made up of hard working people who wear a lot of hats, focus on member service, and try their best to keep costs down.  In my opinion, credit unions aren’t cool in that James Dean style benchmark, credit unions are awesome in the bring-value-to-the-world sort of way.  Are they in their heyday?  That’s a tougher question. Many might say that in America, credit unions had their heyday in the 1930s when Ed Filene, Dora Maxwell and Louise Herring were expanding the Credit Union Movement into a national force.

Today, there are few new credit unions being minted and much has been made about how credit union assets as a group are increasing but the number of credit unions are declining.  I blame increased regulatory compliance but there are also market factors and competition making this happen as well.  So to tie all this together, are credit unions like the band Styx with their heyday over and the two lead singers touring separately and capturing ticket sales from aging Gen Xers?  Not at all.  It is entirely frivolous to compare the awesomeness of the Credit Union Movement to a band from the 70s.  But I have written more than 400 words on Friday so my job here is done.  Have a great weekend.

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