Cooperation Station

Oregon Residents - This is important!


Copied from the Unitus Community Credit Union Facebook Page:

Senator Ron Wyden & Senator Jeff Merkley: #CreditUnions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives and taxing them will only hurt the 96 million people who belong to America’s credit unions including those right here in Oregon. 

Consumers deserve a choice and a cooperative option to banks; that choice is a credit union. #DontTaxMyCU #DontTaxTuesday

For more information please visit

Piedmont CU, America’s First African-American Financial Cooperative

Side note: Hello Tumblr! Sorry to have been away - you seem to be doing quite well. 

As I posted a couple of years ago, African-Americans eagerly adopted the credit union idea when it came to the US a century ago. At the time, I shared the key info on NC’s first African-American CU located in Rowan County. 

Fast forward to this year, and a lot of research is starting to pay dividends. Through the assistance of the African-American CU Coalition we’ve been able to confirm that the Piedmont Credit Union in Rowan County was the first black-owned credit union to be organized in the US. 

I had the opportunity to write an article on this discovery in CU Insight this spring, and you’ll find that article posted here. (One correction to point out in the post - James Patterson, the founding member of the credit union, was an academic, not a farmer. Patterson taught at Livingstone College in Salisbury for a time and later moved to Hampton State University in Virginia.)

Later this year, I hope to get down to Rowan County to research where the credit union met and see if there are any photos or written materials that may offer more context to this rich story. I cannot begin to thank the folks at the AACUC (especially Helen Godfrey-Smith) enough for their assistance. 

Quotable: Alphonse Desjardins

A credit union is not an ordinary financial concern, seeking to enrich its members at the expense of the general public.  Neither is it a loan company, seeking to make a profit at the expense of the unfortunatesThe credit union is nothing of the kind; it is the expression in the field of economics of a high social ideal.”

Alphonse Desjardins is the man who started the Canadian credit union movement 110 years ago. His thoughts are still powerfully relevant today. 

(Bolded emphasis mine.)

(This museum is definitely on my bucket list! Love Toulouse Lautrec! — Jeff)

Henri Toulouse Lautrec, Desire Dehau Reading a Newspaper in the Garden, 1890. Musee Toulouse-Lautrec, France.

(This museum is definitely on my bucket list! Love Toulouse Lautrec! — Jeff)


Henri Toulouse Lautrec, Desire Dehau Reading a Newspaper in the Garden, 1890. Musee Toulouse-Lautrec, France.

A New Holiday Tradition?

Normally, I abhor e-mail forwards. To me, they are generally the Internet’s functional equivalent of cockroaches. Nasty and pervasive, they move fast and are damned hard to kill. 

But I got one a few days ago that seemed to be a pretty cool idea. As the Holidays approach, why not swear off swag and buy local (and practical), gifts? 

Here’s a sample from the e-mail, which I have edited (like most forwards, too much “foreign-bashing” for my likes - so I’ve cleaned out that language)…

"Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box?

Everyone — yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local hair salon or barber?

Gym membership? It’s appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.

Who wouldn’t appreciate getting their car detailed? Small , locally-owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.

Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.”

(My suggestion …a membership in a local co-op … give the gift of sustainability!)

I’m not much of a consumer myself, hate getting stuff I don’t need or want … and don’t buy many presents for others. I prefer presence.

But it seems to me if gift-giving is your thing, this would be a way to support local businesses while giving practical gifts to the people you care about.  

Let the War on Conspicuous Christmas Consumption begin! 

Hard to believe this video is almost four years old. It’s still a terrific explanation of the key differences between credit unions and banks.

Larissa Wilkiw created this video when she was the spokesperson for Young & Free Alberta. Larissa is no longer the spokester (they serve for one year), but the Y&F Campaign is still going strong.