03 June 2008
To Be Buried in a Pringles Can
You may have never heard of Cincinnati's Fredric J. Baur. I hadn't, anyway. Rest assured, though, you know his work.
An organic chemist and food storage technician for Proctor & Gamble, Baur revolutionized the world of snack food in 1966 with his invention of the Pringles potato chip can. After his death on May 4, his family honored his final request by having his mortal remains buried in - you guessed it - a Pringles can.
While hopefully I'm an eternity away from retirement and death, Baur's story made me wonder what my career accomplishment might be. What will I do/create/accomplish that will leave a lasting impression on the world? What will I be buried in?
I'm sure this will change as the years go by, but I thought of three items that I would love to accomplish in the credit union movement:
1) Discover true, industry-wide economies of scale. I'm amazed at how many processes, expenses, and efforts are duplicated by individual credit unions in a cooperative movement. Imagine an industry in which our core processors, ATM networks, card processors, printing services, and financial literacy programs are wholly, and cooperatively, owned. I want to be a force behind these efforts. Together we stand, divided we fall.
2) Financial literacy standardized tests in schools. We measure student performance in reading, writing, mathematics, science, and more. When it comes to financial literacy, however, young people are left out to dry. They say what gets measured gets managed, and it's obvious to me that the contrapositive is also true. Credit unions need to be behind the effort to get mandatory financial literacy education and testing in American high schools. I think we can make it happen.
3) In-house branches. The power of online banking, online bill pay, direct deposit, and telephone/SMS banking is nothing short of remarkable. Recently, some financial institutions have even released home draft capture scanners that allow remote check deposits. To me, it's time to put this all together. I am suggesting the end of physical branches. Video conferencing, reloadable cash cards, remote draft capture, online banking, online bill pay, direct deposit, electronic signatures, and other technologies can make this all possible. Time will allow it to happen.
When I'm buried, I highly doubt I'll have an invention like the Pringles can to hang my hat on. Quite frankly, I'm much more interested in impacting personal relationships than succeeding in commercial ventures. And that's what draws me to the credit union movement.
What would you like to be buried in?