Today I am curiously struck by the concept of purity. This has been weighing on my mind for quite some time, and I feel as though I finally found the inspiration to unforgivingly express my view point on this issue.
As a generalized assumption, those of you who are reading this post today, could think of a handful (or more) of synonyms that might help to define the word purity or pure. Innocent, clean, uncontaminated, natural, unpolluted, or maybe even trustworthy, all of these words describe what makes the perception of purity so desirable.
For the sake of being thorough, choosing a few antonyms to help amplify the meaning of purity seems helpful; tainted, polluted, or evil.
The Credit Union industry as a whole is rooted in a rich history of philanthropy. At its core, philanthropy could indeed step in as a synonym for purity as it is defined above. However, Credit Unions exist in part (all be it, in theory, a very small part) because of money, and on more than one occasion, money has been referred to as “the root of all evil.”
So, if our roots are firmly panted in the soil of philanthropy, or purity, but we exist to translate, distribute, and peddle money, which is rooted in evil, on a scale of Gandhi to Hitler, where does this leave us? It’s hard to say, but what I can say, is that purity has left a very large opening for evil to rear its ugly head.
Purity as it exists in a lot of instances is merely an illusion, a façade, or a perception, made of hearsay. Purity creates a wall of trustworthiness in front unsavory practices or motives. When all that can be seen is this strange façade of purity, it discourages inquiry. If inquiry is discouraged, the truth becomes hidden away in a darker, harder to reach corner, and what is seen is merely a charade to maintain this falsified vision of purity.
Though Credit Unions aren’t at a Bernie Madoff level of deception, the vast majority of us, aren’t fulfilling our duties in order to continue to be considered the oxymoron of the financial world that we are perceived to be either.
Our founding cooperative principles are the definition of purity, but our execution of them, is not. Lucky for Credit Unions, when we planted our philanthropist roots, we were fertilized with a dash of innovation. With innovation comes the inevitable challenge to the status quo. Innovation can be the catalyst for positive change within the industry, a throw back to our roots, in order to continue to grow. If this fails to happen however, Credit Unions will continue down the same path of ambiguity and be considered a “cheaper” alternative to a mega-bank, and that’s it.
I would like to challenge you. At work tomorrow, as your slinging back your first cup of much needed java, pick a process, an idea, function of, or charitable activity your Credit Union participates in, and think about it briefly. Ask yourself, “Does this follow the map our basic cooperative principles have provided us?” and “Does this help our members achieve their goals and better the communities we serve?”
If your answers are no, then your Credit Union shouldn’t be doing it, point blank. Be that innovator, that catalyst for positive change, and think of a solution. Tell someone about it. Do something about it. There will always be someone, somewhere, who is willing to listen and join your fight if you just keep searching, and there is power in numbers.
The façade of purity will never be dismantled without a sledge hammer and someone with the “muscles” to take the initial swing. Change will never happen in silence. Speak up, we need you.