Why Not A Credit Union Davos?

January 21, 2014 at 8:35 am 2 comments

Today marks the beginning of the Davos World Economic Forum, which, as the New York Times succinctly describes, is a meeting for “the 1% of the 1%. . .” or as summarized by one former participant “a constellation of egos involved in massive mutual orgies of adulation.”

As if to confirm the worst fears of its critics, it cost approximately $70,000 to attend this event, at which the major topic will be economic inequality. I know for Matt Damon and Jaime Dimon, this is chump change; but for the rest of us, it’s real money.

However, while Davos may have become a victim of its own success, at its core is a model upon which credit unions should capitalize. Why not have an industry-wide meeting once every year dedicated to getting the best and the brightest to address a core dilemma facing the nation and the role that credit unions could play in addressing it? For you Seinfeld fans, think of it as Festivus for the rest of us.

For example, economic inequality is a key issue facing the nation. A broad based discussion of what credit unions already do to address this issue and could do with more concerted effort would give us all a blueprint to integrate the credit union philosophy into our day to day work.

In addition, an industry-wide Davos like get-together is much more than just a feel good idea. Let’s face it, the number one attack of credit union critics is that credit unions have somehow outlived their usefulness. An annual discussion with credit unions of all shapes and sizes and thinkers across the political spectrum could underscore how the unique attributes of credit unions are as important today as when the industry was founded.

For example, if you believe that inequality is a problem, then highlighting the fact that the credit union industry generally leaves the American public with more money in its pocket is a big deal. And as we continue to address the role housing policy should play in the American Dream, a conference dedicated specifically to the experience of credit unions in dealing with the Great Recession would not only be useful to the wider public policy debate but, properly publicized, would underscore just how important credit unions are to the economic lifeblood of this country.

The credit union Davos I envision would be run jointly by NAFCU and CUNA to both avoid the inevitable turf wars and to put the onus on its organizers to make sure that this yearly event is more than just another conference.

. . . . . . . . .Omaha!

Just in time for the unveiling of his 2014-2015 Executive Budget proposal, Governor Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have come to an agreement on how to divide up New York State’s portion of the recently announced national settlement with J.P. Morgan. Half the money will be under the AG’s control to be allocated toward foreclosure prevention efforts and half the funds will go into the State’s general fund.

. . . . . . . . . .Omaha!

The Wall Street Journal is reporting this morning that despite a tepid jobs report, the FED is likely to continue winding down its bond buying program when it meets again in late January, the last meeting at which Ben Bernanke will be the FED’s Chairman.

My Omaha’s today are in honor of Peyton Manning, who called out Omaha 31 times while demolishing the New England Patriots. Hey, at least I picked Seattle over San Francisco.

Entry filed under: Economy, General, New York State, Political. Tags: , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mira Ness  |  January 21, 2014 at 9:45 am

    What a great idea! I am all for it.

  • 2. Anne Legg  |  January 22, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    Hi Henry
    Funny, I was thinking a similar thought. Davos, as I understand it is for the top corporate performers, and I would love to see Credit Unions have a forum that ALL credit unions could contribute to. Why limit our great thinking to asset size?
    I do think that CUNA’s GAC is a good opportunity for credit union leaders to meet, think and share reg/leg concerns as well as business strategy. So a platform may exist.
    I would also add innovation to your Davos concept. maybe a cross between Davos and Finovate.. Davovate??
    Thanks for the spark.. Great content!


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Authored By:

Henry Meier, Esq., General Counsel, New York Credit Union Association.

The views Henry expresses are Henry’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Association.

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