SOUTHBRIDGE, Mass. (11/24/09)--Credit unions are as important as they have ever been to U.S. consumers, especially in the current troubled economic environment, a Massachusetts credit union CEO wrote in a column for a local financial publication. “U.S. credit unions are celebrating their centennial year in the midst of gloomy economic times,” Jeffrey Davenport, CEO of Southbridge (Mass.) CU, wrote in the Worcester Business Journal (Nov. 23). “Many Americans are hurting, and folks are apprehensive about their economic prospects. “Credit unions wish this weren’t the case, and they are stepping in to help whenever possible,” he continued. “But the current situation is an important reminder that credit unions themselves were founded from adversity such as this. It is also a reminder of their proud history of putting people before profits to provide access to affordable financial services to all their members.” Credit unions’ cooperative business model and emphasis on public service through adherence to conservative financial practices has allowed them to be a sanctuary for the past 100 years during times of financial crisis, Davenport wrote. “And even in the midst of the current market crisis, credit unions have been repeatedly heralded as an important source of stability in the financial sector,” he added. “Indeed, credit unions remain committed to helping our citizens retrieve the economic power lost during the current crisis and to recover their homes lost because of the mortgage market upheaval. “Not only is this the reason that credit unions exist, it is also what they do best. And it is this proud, 100-year tradition of being part of the solution rather than the problem that credit unions are celebrating today,” Davenport wrote. To view the column, use the link.