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“Times are a-changin” for Credit Unions

The song "The Times They Are a-Changin'" was written by Bob Dylan and released as the title track of his 1964 album of the same name. The song was a deliberate attempt to create an anthem of change for the 60s. In was originally released as a 45 r.p.m. single, a recording format long since replaced. It is quite fitting that a song about change would represent an industry that has, in 40 years, gone from 78s to 45s to 4 or 8 tracks to compact cassettes to the Walkman to CD and DVD players to MP3s and then to the iPod in 2001.

FedComp itself has seen many changes within the credit union industry over the last 35 years. FedComp's DOS core system was released in 1984 and by 1988 there were 700 users. In 1993 FedComp was ready for Intel's i486, the fourth generation of binary compatible CPUs since the original 8086 of 1978. Three years later FedComp was ready for Microsoft's® introduction of Windows® 95. On October 31 2001, FedComp released a true windows-based core processer for Windows XP and within a year 500 CUs had installed it. Due to the ever changing world of Window's operating systems, FedComp introduced the Platinum system in 2008.

Today FedComp is preparing for the changes of the next 30 years. When we think about change we must consider the following:

  • A lot has changed in the market and the US economy over the last 30-40 years and a lot will change in years to come requiring every service provider to change in order to survive.
  • These changes will also invite new approaches to the delivery of financial services which will provide greater benefits to members.
  • In the years to come many of the assumptions that comprise conventional positions on the economy and markets will no longer hold and will have to be re-evaluated.

In the summer of 2010 FedComp's president noted "the more things change… the more they stay the same." Most of us suffer from the same difficulty, tunnel vision which makes it hard for us to envision a positive future when faced with change. This is one explanation of "the more things change …", because we have not opened ourselves to change, the more our objections to change remain the same. Each of us must break with our past, we must become dissatisfied with status quo without disavowing it in order to fully embrace change.

The universe is ever changing. Our world may appear to be different, but it was, and always will be, part of the same bigger picture which has remained the same through-out history. In the face of this wave of change we must have a sense of humbleness because change is not a game best played by one self. No one alone can address-change, we need the collective genius of a team – credit unions, service providers, national associations, and the members.

Bob Duff – Chairman and CEO

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