BURLINGTON, Mass. (4/30/09)--Eastern Corporate FCU (EasCorp) provided stories of innovation and insights on how today's economic troubles came about, and elected new board officers at its Partnership Conference and 31st Annual Meeting April 7 in Boston.
Keynoters sharing perspectives on how to navigate the financial industry's difficult waters were entrepreneur Arkadi Kuhlmann, president/CEO of ING DIRECT; and economist Robert Litan, vice president for research and policy for Kauffman Foundation. Kuhlmann explained how he led ING DIRECT to become the nation's largest online bank, with 20 million customers worldwide. His key? Developing the company to be a "rebel with a cause," he said. "To do well, you have to think of customers and their beliefs. A company with a cause that turns itself into a self-actualizing brand has a spiritual dimension."
Dr. Litan, author and co-author of 25 books and more than 200 articles on government policies affecting financial institutions--including the just-released The Great Squeeze
-- lent context to the current financial crisis. "The gasoline that fired this enormous recession was excessive leverage. Everybody had borrowed too much--consumers…Wall Street…the banking system…. And now we're in the middle of a forest fire." The way to get out: "The Fed has giant water hoses," he said. During EasCorp's annual meeting, President Jane Melchionda noted that the current uncertain economy provided a unique backdrop for EasCorp's conference. "Market turmoil isn't new to credit unions--we came into our own during the Great Depression. Now, in the midst of modern upheaval, credit unions will continue to fulfill the mission of helping people of average means with their financial needs. This event provides an opportunity to reaffirm and celebrate what makes our partnership work," she said. EasCorp also elected its 2009 board of directors. Re-elected to three-year terms were Leonard Broderick, president/CEO of Tremont CU, Braintree, Mass., and John Young, president/CEO of New Hampshire FCU, Concord. Other board members are:
* Audrey Phinney, president/ CEO, Bridgewater (Mass.) CU; * James Regan, president/CEO, Digital FCU, Marlborough, Mass.; * Joseph Bean, president/CEO, Hingham (Mass.) FCU; * David Sprague, president/CEO, Hanscom FCU, Bedford, Mass.; and * Stewart Steele, Quincy (Mass.) CU.
Nearly 200 guests representing 84 credit unions attended. The conference was held at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.