by: Kristen Christian, Founder, Speaker, Consultant & Advocate, Bank Transfer Day
The story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League isn’t so different from that of the credit union movement. With the majority of young men drafted into military service after America’s entry into World War II, several major league baseball executives needed to find a way to sustain revenue and preserve America’s national pastime. Philip K. Wrigley decided to offer women an opportunity to shine. The league started out with 60 young women, and attendance was initially small. While many Americans laughed off female baseball players as a joke, others feared female athletics were a threat to the gender roles in society at the time. Needless to say, the crowded stands, cheering fans and eventual recognition of the Baseball Hall of Fame was no easy feat. Knowing opportunity may only knock once, these ladies jumped at the chance.
With rising concerns of the masculinization of women, female baseball players were required to wear skirts and attend classes on etiquette and charm in order to play in the league. While unfair, the reality remained that female players had an entirely different set of rules on and off the field than those their male counterparts were subject to. Flexibility was key in accepting what they couldn’t change and rolling with the punches (or in this case, foul calls).
Although Senate still hasn’t voted on S. 2231, consumers are still raving about the benefits of doing business with a financial cooperative. American Banker recently reported that nearly 6M Americans have changed the way they bank since the Bank Transfer Day movement was founded in October 2011. The momentum hasn’t stopped, but it won’t last forever. In the dramatization A League of Their Own, the Rockford Peaches gather in the locker room to sing, “Batter up! Hear that call! The time has come for one and all to play ball.”
As the United Nations deemed 2012 the “International Year of the Cooperative,” your time is now. While you have the attention of consumers, what would you like them to know? How do the unique strengths of credit unions have through the “people helping people” mission better serve consumers? The playing field may not be level just yet, but don’t be afraid to get a little dirt in the skirt if you want to knock one out of the park!
Kristen initiated Bank Transfer Day as a simple directive every citizen can independently act upon. Social media offered opportunity for a global platform, which resulted in one of the largest consumer migrations in history. CUNA attributes nearly a million new credit union accounts in October and November to her efforts with this movement. While continuing to advocate for consumer empowerment & economic sustainability, she offers lectures & consultations to help credit unions reach the next generation of potential members. www.veggefatale.com