Release the Kraken! Evolution Task Force Begins its Odyssey

What will the credit union system of tomorrow look like? The Evolution Task Force is examining this question.

Five hundred thousand years ago, the brain of your average Neanderthal was just as large (or larger) than that of yours or mine today. Even so, you don’t see Neanderthals today selling Amway, driving school buses, or teaching classes in applied physics. Why? Prevailing theories hold that the Neanderthal failed to evolve and that your average Homo sapiens did a very good job of evolving. So, how do we make sure that credit unions are the “Homo sapiens” of the next century and not the Neanderthal?

I’m not sure if anyone can definitively answer the question, but it’s pretty clear that if we don’t have a plan for where we want to be in ten, twenty or even a hundred years, we shouldn’t be chagrined about where we end up.

America is on the brink of monumental changes to the financial services sector, and the decisions we make today may become the evolutionary changes of tomorrow—changes that could lead to the marginalization of the American credit union movement, or total market domination (always my hope)!

What will the credit union system of tomorrow look like? Should there be wholesale changes to the credit union charter or an utterly new charter? How should credit unions of the future be governed? What kinds of powers do we need to remain relevant? Who should regulate these future credit unions?

One of the Washington Credit Union League’s current strategic priorities is to help foster discussion about the evolution of the credit union movement here in Washington (and worldwide). To that end, over the past nine months, the League organized a series of summit meetings bringing in critical thinkers on areas of interest including: the credit union charter, governance, powers, and capital. The next step was to form a task force of credit union professionals charged with synthesizing the information shared during the summit meetings and make recommendations to League leadership concerning legislative and regulatory policy changes needed to get us from here (where we currently are) to there (where we want to be).

Evolution Task Force members include:

  • Christina Brown, Gesa CU (Co-Chair)
  • Mina Worthington, Yakima Valley CU (Co-Chair)
  • Jeff Adams, Horizon CU
  • Steve Crosby, Harborstone CU
  • John Iglesias, Salal CU
  • Jeff Kennedy, TwinStar CU
  • Paul Kirkbride, Unitus CU
  • Ben Morales, WSECU
  • Jim Morrell, iQ CU
  • Mark Nelson, Qualstar CU
  • Bergen Peterson, Columbia CU
  • Michelle Purnell-Hepburn, SMCU
  • Brooke Van Vleet, First Tech CU
  • Mel West, Woodstone CU, and
  • Sharon Hall, Washington Credit Union League

It’s a pretty rare event that a FOCUS article pays tribute to Homer, but the Evolution Task Force really has started its own odyssey—a path toward what may be truly evolutionary change. From a personal perspective I’m excited to see what the group recommends and how it may change our navigational course.

In keeping with the Odyssey/Iliad/Homer/Clash of the Titans references, it’s time for the Evolution Task Force to “release the kraken”!