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Mica notes young members are most optimistic
BOSTON (6/23/09)--
Credit Union National President/CEO Dan Mica welcomed attendees at the America’s Credit Union Conference in Boston, saying that despite the tough year for the nation’s financial institutions, credit unions can be optimistic. He discussed the optimism of younger consumers--76% of 18 to 29 year olds say their personal financial situation will improve. “That’s optimism,” he said. The movement projects it will have 100 million members in the next few years. "Young people need it (financial services) and want it. We can stand tall in this." (Photo provided by CUNA)


Credit Union National Association President/CEO Dan Mica welcomed attendees at the America’s Credit Union Conference in Boston Monday saying that despite the tough year for the nation’s financial institutions, credit unions can be optimistic about the future. Credit unions’ capital is at 10%. “Every other financial institution would love to have 10%,” he noted. Banks have regulatory hearings on their backs, shareholders on their backs and more “but we don’t have a single group in that situation.” Credit unions are No. 1 in trust, he said citing a survey released May 26 by Forrester Research Inc. He noted the optimism of future credit union members, those in the 18-29 age bracket Pew Research Center has found that this age group may be among the most optimistic. Thirty-five percent of this age group are having trouble paying the rent or mortgage, and 36% have lost their job or know someone who has, he said. Forty percent have cut their spending, and 33% have changed their cell phone plans. However, 76% still say their personal financial situation will improve. “That’s optimism,” Mica said. He ended on the note that the movement projects it will have 100 million members in the next few years. “Young people need it (financial services) and want it. We can stand tall in this.”
Chief executive optimist Bert Jacobs, co-founder of Life is good in Boston, brought the empowerment of optimism to America’s Credit Union Conference and Expo. The keynoter for Monday’s general session told how one T-shirt character, “Jake,” served as a magnet for optimism (Photo provided by CUNA)
On another note of optimism, the conference heard from the chief executive of optimism, Bert Jacobs, whose Life is good T-shirt enterprise went from selling from the back of a van 15 years ago to a multimillion dollar enterprise that now raises millions of dollars for children’s causes. Jacobs’ message is simple: Be optimistic. Be open to new things, to meeting new people. Be open to the notion that anything is possible. He told how friends came up with the cartoon character, Jake--a nerdy-looking, smiley stick man who “looks like he has life figured out.” When Jacobs and his brother John sold 48 of the T-shirts in 45 minutes, they knew they were on to something. Soon the enterprise expanded Jake. He was shown eating ice cream, playing golf, cooking in the back yard or just relaxing. The tall, laid-back Frisbee-throwing T-shirt clad Bostonian said that after 9/11, people couldn’t get enough of Jake’s messages of hope and joy. “Americans work way too hard,” he told the assembly’s hard-working credit union volunteers and professionals. After the session, credit unions waited in line for nearly two hours, queuing up to buy his “Life is Good” book.
Massachusetts Credit Union League President Dan Egan noted that in the State House, near the entrance is a plaque honoring Pierre Jay, the first banking commissioner of Massachusetts. Jay, along with Boston’s Edward A. Filene, ushered in the first general charter for credit unions after the founding of St. Mary’s Bank CU in New Hampshire. Filene put up $1 million of his own money to promote credit unions, Egan told America’s Credit Union Conference Monday morning. (Photo provided by CUNA)
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