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Coincidences, Oddities & Eloquence In CU History

From the What Goes Around Comes Around Department: In case you missed it, there was an interesting insight shared in the Feb. 28 issue by Steve Goldberg, exeutive director of the CUNA Mutual Foundation. Goldberg recalled being a high school senior and attending a credit union an early Youth Roundtable at in Madison, Wis. "I drove to the Edgewather Hotel and met old men smoking cigars and drinking brandy out of snifters," recalled Goldberg. "The predominate leadership of the movement was old and getting older. They realized that they didn't want to take credit unions to the grave with them."

That was 1967. Funny, but sounds a lot like 2011.

• Saw an ad online recently for one of those places you can board your pets called "Pet Paradise." Their slogan: "A paradise for pets." Am wondering just how much time went into developing that tagline.

• CNNMoney.com recently headlined a feature story, "8 Least Evil Banks." Among those making the "Least Evil" list (apparently there's no room left in the world for a "Best Of") was Alliant Credit Union in Chicago. The story noted that "while it's located in Illinois, anyone can join, no matter where they live."

The story quoted Ken Tumin, founder of Depositaccounts.com as saying (and maybe this is the evil part), "If you want a brick-and-mortar bank in the area, that would be the downside of Alliant. But besides that it's a great option. There's high-rate checking, no monthly fees and it's part of a really big ATM network."

• Having taken a day recently to go skiing for the first time in a long time, would just like to thank America's downhill ski industry for pricing that suddenly makes golf look pretty reasonable.

• You no doubt read recently that NCUA is now quite the social media presence, and can be reached on Twitter and Facebook. I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict that the only number smaller than those who correctly pick every game in their March Madness tournament office pool will be the number of CEOs sending Friend requests to the agency.

• If he's lucky, Dr. Richard Kimble retired to central Florida.

In case you missed it, there was a robbery recently at Fairwinds Credit Union in Orlando. Police actually caught the suspect as he was walking out of the branch. Before being apprehended, the suspect, Matthew Megular, put up a bit of a struggle but had to surrender when one of his arms came off. It seems Mr. Megular had a prosthesis, which was placed on top of a patrol car as witnesses were being questioned.

The arms control issue was just the last in a series of problems for the suspect. According to police, after passing a note to a teller-who recognized him as a regular in the branch-and demanding cash be placed in a bag, the teller was unable to slide the bag back through the slot due to its size. So Megular allegedly then turned and walked out of the branch, where he encountered police. It isn't as if he would have gotten far even if the cops weren't on the scene. It seems another teller recognized him from high school, and that he lived in the same apartment complex as she did just a half-mile away.

This story must have been an Orlando newspaper headline writer's dream: How could you avoid using "one-armed bandit" or "police get a helping hand?" over the top of this?

• From the Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight to Psycho: in Ferndale, Wash., police have charged 59-year-old Loewen B. Craft with dressing up in a gray wig and using makeup to look older and impersonate her deceased mother in order to open an account at a credit union branch here.

Authorities allege that Craft has collected more than $145,000 in pension benefits since her mother died in 2007. Police had been on the case, and a detective was waiting for Craft at the credit union.

• During CUNA's recent GAC, a Treasury representative made a statement that would have been unheard of just five years ago, and yet was taken as a fait accompli in 2011: "There is widespread agreement that we need to wind down Fannie and Freddie," the Treasury rep said.

Imagine the audience reaction to that statement if it had been made at the 2005 GAC.

• Rep. Paul Kanjorski, the Pennsylvania Democrat who came to the rescue of credit unions in Congress in 1997 when the CU community did not have the PAC muscle it has today and when it was on the losing side of numerous court decisions over field of membership, was always an eloquent speaker, regardless of whether you agreed with his politics. And such was the case when he was recognized by CUNA during GAC for his extensive contributions to credit unions.

"You fill this room, you fill my heart, and now you fill the hearts of the American people," Kanjorksi told the crowd before getting a standing ovation.

Unless he doesn't meet the criteria, I wouldn't be surprised to see him picking up some Herb Wegner hardware sometime in the future.

Frank J. Diekmann can be reached at fdiekmann@cujournal.com.

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