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New Book Explores Development of Modern CU Movement
Monday, February 10, 2014 6:55 AM

Credit unions are the largest segment of America's cooperative movement.  These member-owned financial co-ops helped pioneer consumer credit in the United States and are still a significant force in consumer finance.

A new book explores the transformation of many American credit unions from small, limited service institutions run largely by volunteers to today's full-service, professionally staffed institutions serving more than 94 million members.  For this work, Thompson recently won the 2013 Individual Achievement Award of the Credit Union Development Education Program of the National Credit Union Foundation.

Development of the Modern U.S. Credit Union Movement 1970-2010 chronicles the factors that have moved credit unions into the mainstream of American life.  These factors include legal and regulatory developments, technological changes, new products and services, and competitive pressures.

The 379-page book discusses the impact of these developments on credit union size, structure, and philosophy.  It places credit unions in the context of the nation's major economic events and trends, from the Great Inflation of the 1970s to the S&L debacle of the 1980s to the Great Recession of late 2007-2009.  Among other things, it touches on the role of credit unions in community development and African-American and feminist history.

The author, Paul Thompson, is a journalist and student of credit union history.  He served as speechwriter for the leadership of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) from 1986 to 1998.  He is a certified Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE).  In preparation for writing the book, he interviewed many credit union leaders and studied the extensive written record of the period.

The book is available in softcover and e-book version from The e-book version can be read on the Ipad and on Barnes and Noble's Nook Reader, and on personal computers equipped with free Adobe Digital Edition or Nook software down-loadable from the Web.