Thank you, Dan. It is a pleasure to address the NAFCU Congressional Caucus today. As I have in the past, I want to again recognize and thank Fred Becker, Michael Parsons, Dan Berger, Brad Thaler, Carrie Hunt, Steve Van Beek, and Katie Marisic for the outstanding job they do representing and advocating for credit unions across this country every day in our nation’s capital. Your efforts and actions make NAFCU the respected association it is. I commend and thank you for all you do.
I am pleased to be speaking to you again here at the Mayflower Hotel. You have a very important few days ahead of you and I wish you the very best as you meet with lawmakers on Capitol Hill and as you work to achieve the goals you have set for yourselves. Defending the future of credit unions is very serious business and it requires very serious effort on your part.
You may remember when I spoke to you last year I recalled that it was on the seventh floor of this hotel—in the suite where he stayed before moving into the White House the next afternoon—that President Franklin Roosevelt polished his first inaugural address in March of 1933. It was probably the most important speech of his life and it is remembered for one of his first sentences: “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Roosevelt was trying to get the country moving again after three years of a crushing depression. Banks were failing so fast that in the days leading up to his address 32 states declared banks temporarily closed.
Much of Roosevelt’s speech that he worked on six floors above us had a kind of credit union ring to it, a kind of “we have to think more about helping one another than about profits.” In one part Roosevelt said, “We now realize as we have never realized before our interdependence on each other, that we cannot merely take but we must give as well.”
Roosevelt’s predecessor in the White House, Herbert Hoover was a smart man, a good business man, a humanitarian, and a hard worker. But he did not have the right kind of temperament needed for the bad circumstances that were thrown at him. Franklin Roosevelt did not cure the Depression but he had a temperament and an attitude that gave people greater hope than they had before...