What is a Credit Union? Young People Don’t Know.

By Melanie Friedrichs

Next week Andera is hosting a webinar with Tim McAlpine, the man behind the Young and Free credit union youth marketing movement, and that has given me enough of an excuse to spend some time browsing the hundreds of videos created by the Young and Free “spokesters.”

My favorite is a  video by Deandre Upshaw, the former Young & Free spokester of Texas. Deandre went around Baylor University and asked students “Do You Know What A Credit Union Is?”  He got these faces:

When people my age (I’m a Gen Yer) ask me what I do and I reply “I work for a company that makes software for banks and credit unions,” I get similar faces, or blank stares.  I thought it was because my job sounded terribly boring, until I realized that most of them where still trying to process the statement. “Banks” they understood, but “credit unions”…? Not entirely.

What’s in a Name?

Juliet said, “That which we call a rose / would by any other name smell as sweet.” She was right,  names can’t change the nature of a thing.  But they can change how we understand it.

“Credit Union” was chosen at the turn of the century, during the heyday of organized labor.  At the time, it was probably an excellent choice. “Credit,” in common understanding, meant banking, and “union” evoked the cooperative spirit of organized labor and ideals of fairness and equality.

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