MADISON, Wis. (5/25/10)--Cooperatives embody the kind of corporate social responsibility the U.S. economy needs, the CEO of the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) wrote in an op/ed piece May 13 in Forbes.com. He cited in particular credit unions. After going through a huge recession in which greed and questionable business deals were prevalent, some are calling for innovative solutions, but cooperatives already exist and can help provide a cure, Paul Hazen, NCBA CEO, wrote in Forbes. “Co-ops aren't just for alternative groceries,” Hazen added. “There are some 29,000 of them in all sectors of the American economy, a recent study by the University of Wisconsin found. They have revenues that exceed $3 trillion and employ 856,000 people. Household names among them include Ace Hardware, Ocean Spray, the Associated Press and Sunkist.” Hazen calls attention to the difference between credit unions, which are cooperatively owned financial institutions, and investor-owned banks. “Large-scale banks have been publicly flagellated for the risks they took with securitized subprime mortgages and the ways they artificially--and even illegally--inflated the value of their assets,” Hazen wrote. “They did all this, we know, because they were under heavy pressure from boards and investors to maximize earnings. “Credit unions simply didn’t do that,” he continued. “Credit union executives are unabashed when they say they run boring businesses. No risky, faceless customers, no fancy junk bonds. Banking should be boring and simple, they like to say. At last these conservative practices are beginning to look more respectable, and boring banking has piqued the public’s interest, given the ill effects we’ve all seen stem from the flashy excess of Wall Street-driven banking.” To read the op/ed, use the link.