The Mayans may have been off the mark on that end-of-the-world thing (get ready, by the way, because here's a prediction of my own: coming soon will be a new wave of books and seminars seeking to cash in on the real Mayan end-of-world forecast), but that isn't too say as 2012 closes it wasn't the end of days for some long-time credit unions.
As has become something of a bittersweet tradition here, we close each year by remembering those credit unions that, like Dick Clark, will also nevermore ring in a new year. Whether shuttered or liquidated, merged or rebranded, their names are now fading like the Polaroids of annual meetings from decades past.
We recall the now departed Spectrum FCU, whose name, fittingly, can mean a "series of colors...that are not visible to the eye," not that eyesight seems much help, as the former Newvision CU can attest. There will be no more reunions for Pocahy Family, and in what may indeed be proof robots are taking over the world, we bid adieu to Human Services' Employees FCU.
Pine Cones & Pineapples
We are going to miss what we can only assume were the near-sweet sounds of Carilion FCU, the mouthwatering stack of pancakes brought to mind by Maple Hill (best served in the pine-scented, crisp air at Border Lodge CU), and the South Pacific imagery of old-fashioned steamships packed with pineapples by tanned dockworkers conjured up by Hawaii Stevedores' Castle & Cooke FCU.
We bid a personal good-bye to those that got personal in their names, Frederica and Henrietta and Anne Arundel.
We assume old logo golf shirts are all that now remain of the likes of Yakima Valley, Catholic, SOCU Community, Allegis, Roanoke County Schools, Tri-State, Telesis, Moapa Valley, CD, NYC Mercury, AgFirst, Parkway, OLOL Regional and Ashby FCU.
We wonder if, ironically, our ink-stained brethren weren't caught off guard by the headlines announcing the closure of Times News Employees, Rockford Newspapers, Hazleton Newspaper Employees and Bay Media. All have put their final issues to bed.
We have faith there was a clergyman handy at the services for Crestmont Baptist, Trinity, Holy Redeemer Parish, New Bethel AME, Queen Street Baptist Church, First Catholic, St. Luke, St. John's and United Catholic CU.
And we can only assume it was the inability to capture those late-rising Gen Xers that finally killed off AM Community.
No Need To Ask
Each year at conferences we see more nametags on which are emblazoned generic, non-geographic names, making it easy to start the small talk with, "So, where ya from?" You never had to do that with someone from Safeway Los Angeles, El Paso's, Greater Ozarks Community, Santa Monica City, Central Vermont Public Service, Niagara Mohawk Power, or Eastern New York.
By the same token you never really had to ask who the CU served when you were talking to someone from the likes of L.C. School Employees CU, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 880, Ferndale Refinery, Rochester Dairy, Women's Southwest, Commercial Metals, CVPS Employees, I-R Employees, or New River Truck Plant CU.
And you certainly didn't need to wonder about the location or the FOM of San Diego Japanese American Citizens League FCU.
We'd be remiss were we not to wonder who turned out the lights at Connecticut Energy Employees CU and Electric FCU. And we can only assume the care was top-notch right up to the final flat line at Lower Bucks Hospital, El Camino Hospital, Health Care Professionals FCU and, have mercy, Mercy Hospital and Mercy Health Services FCU.
We're left to forever mull how the news of the closures was delivered to members of Hartford Postal Employees, Wausau Postal, and East Bay Postal.
This was the year REALTORS FCU was foreclosed upon; that USA One National CU proved committees probably shouldn't be in charge of names; that even the coolest of brands, California Pacific, can't save you; when the sun set on Sunrise; when CR Community First perhaps needed CPR first; and when a CU named Quimper went out with a whimper.
In 2012, we remember that for all that talk about government downsizing the only reductions seen were at Massachusetts State Employees, Georgia Department of Public Safety FCU, and San Jose.
All Over The Map
We saw closures all over the compass and the map, from UFCU Northwest to Inland Empire to East Coast to North Orange County to Southwest Missouri to Dodge Central, and from Woodlands to riverset.
This was the year that Valley First finished last, that Merrimack College didn't matriculate, when we said Aloha to Kaloa, when Preferred Financial wasn't, when NorthCountry Cooperative went south, when SCORE FCU didn't, and when Niagara's Choice wasn't.
We pause to note no matter how optimistic you are in naming your financial co-op, it may not ward off the inevitable, as Prevail (it did not) and Sturdy (it was not) and Inspire (it could not) will attest. Sadly, not even the most philosophical of names, People for People, or historical, Filene Federal, could stop the turning pages of time.
We remember all of you, and urge readers to remember to act now to avoid this list.
Frank J.Diekmann can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.