Our history is rooted in Edward A. Filene’s reliance on solid, innovative research. His spirit lives on as we pursue knowledge that benefits credit unions, their members, and all consumers of financial services.
Filene introduces applied research in 2009 to help credit unions bring these research and innovation ideas to life.
H.R. 3374 – The American Savings Promotion Act, legislation to remove barriers to offering prize-linked savings accounts, passes the House in 2014. Filene’s research and innovation around lottery-based savings programs helped lay the groundwork for the Act.
Filene creates a multi-academic institution research fellows program in 2005 to connect with top thought leaders in the academic, nonprofit, and financial services worlds.
The National Credit Union Foundation adopts REAL Solutions as its signature program in 2006.
In 2007, Filene publishes a series of research briefs to keep young adults issues top of mind for credit unions through CU Tomorrow. The 30 Under 30 community also introduces product, service, and business model ideas for credit unions, geared towards attracting young adult members, employees, or volunteers.
A Summer Fellowships talent project in 2008 and 2009 places summer fellows, most of them MBA candidates, at credit unions across the country.
The Doorway to Dreams (D2D) Fund, Filene, and the Michigan Credit Union League launch Save to Win, the nation’s first prize-linked savings account program in 2008.
Filene averages 25 research releases per year, including:
Filene introduces REAL Solutions in 2003 to help credit unions better serve low-and-moderate-income financial consumers.
The i3 (Ideas, Innovation, Implementation) program first brings together the best and the brightest next generation of credit union leaders in 2004 to address consumer finance challenges. Twenty-five inaugural executives ideate solutions such as:
HR 1151 – The Credit Union Membership Access Act becomes law in 1998. Filene’s research helped lay the groundwork for the Act, which greatly increased the potential for credit unions to serve millions of additional Americans.
The organization’s budget grows from $70,000 to $1M.
Born in 1860 to Jewish immigrants, Edward A. Filene took over his family’s Boston clothing business at the age of nineteen when his father’s health began to fail. Despite his lack of formal schooling, Mr. Filene became one of the most ingenious retailing minds in the country, understanding that the best merchants do not sell products but serve human needs.
In 1908 Mr. Filene attended a meeting about spreading the idea of credit associations in the United States. He offered financial support to the credit union movement, and in 1933 he began touring the United States speaking on credit unions.
Mr. Filene kept the credit union movement going at a critical point in its development. He never organized a credit union, and he was involved in the organization of the national association in only a broad way. But he was the movement’s spiritual leader. He passed away in 1937 at the age of seventy-seven.