News From Among The Summer Blockbusters

It seems entirely appropriate for one CU CEO that he has been able to cross an item off his "bucket list," since the very concept has been popularized by a movie of the same name.

Thom Powers, CEO of Hudson River Teachers FCU in New York, recently spent a day working as a background extra for scenes being filmed for the upcoming HBO mini-series "Mildred Pierce," a period piece starring Kate Winslet and set in the 1930s (Joan Crawford won an Academy Award for her role in the original). Acting as a stand-in for Los Angeles, because the two are so often confused, was Peekskill, N.Y.

Powers, who said movies are among his passions, responded to a local casting call where the casting director like his look and picked him out of the crowd. If you know anything about movie-making you know it can mean long days for just a short piece of action, and Powers said that was just the case, beginning with a 5:30 a.m. call for wardrobe and make-up, and then…waiting. Lots of waiting in the holding area.

"Then there's a run to the set," said Powers. "The folks who manage the background actors get you set and run you through the motions of what is your cue and where you need to walk, stop, talk, etc. They have to synch the movements of the background folks to what is going on in the scene 'inside.' In my case the scene was in a restaurant and we were the players outside."

If you watch the series and it's not an editing room casualty, Powers might be recognized as "someone who stopped near the front door where I was fake smoking a cigarette and talking to a 'friend.'" And so the day went, Powers said, with lots of "cut" and "let's do it again" being heard. There was lunch, some more of the same, before finally back to wardrobe and a return to the 21st century and a desk at the credit union.

• Speaking of the movie industry, with the summer blockbuster season upon us it's worth noting credit unions have always been short-changed when it comes to superheroes such as Iron Man and The Avengers. But fear no more: Wolters Kluwer Financial Services in Minneapolis has introduced "BankingHero.com" (not sure many in America share that view, by the way), where caped crusaders who manage operating risks and inefficiencies can get their due–and more information. Our one request of the risk managers and CFOs out there–fight the urge to wear the tights.

• One note from a recent interview found while cleaning out the notebook. CUNA President Dan Mica has ,throughout his 13 years with the group, advocated that CUNA and NAFCU should merge. Now, Bill Cheney is coming aboard as CUNA CEO in July, having previously served on the executive committee of NAFCU several years ago during his time as a CU CEO. Cheney said a CUNA/NAFCU merger is not among his priorities.

"I have a good relationship with NAFCU and with (CEO) Fred Becker," said Cheney. "I worked with him for six years. The important thing is that CUNA and NAFCU work together. This is a matter that is up to credit unions. Eventually, as credit unions consolidate, they will have to look to all efficiencies. It's not up to me and it's not up to Fred; it's up to credit unions."

• We opened with the movies and heroes, we close with the same. Every red-blooded American has seen the 1989 film "Field of Dreams" starring Kevin Costner, which has since led to about a billion "If you build it, he will come" references. Thanks to that mysterious voice, in the movie Costner builds a baseball diamond out of his corn field and before you can say "loan default," members of the 1919 White Sox and other baseball heroes are emerging from the corn beyond the outfield to play America's pastime. At the end of the day they stroll back into the corn before fading away.

Among the great mysteries for both Costner's character, Ray Kinsela, and movie fans alike is, "Where do they go?" It's been 20 years, so I can now tell you: to the branch of Dupaco Community Credit Union that is just beyond that corn in Dyersville, Iowa, where the movie was filmed.

Why bring all this up? Because the field, the adjacent farmhouse and other land is now for sale for just $5.4 million. And if you need a loan, well…

Frank J. Diekmann is publisher of Credit Union Journal and can be reached at fdiekmann@cujournal.com.