Monday, January 22, 2024

SECU: Consider This: Chapter 4 - John Sprunt Hill

 SECU is different!
Before we use a kleenex [link - Chapter 3] to dry our RBL "tiers" away and move on to "Esse Quam Videri", lets' pause for some unchallengeable, historical confirmation that North Carolina credit unions are not banks... and were never intended to develop into that four letter word.
✅ John Sprunt Hill (1869-1961, pictured above) was one of  North Carolina's most successful and distinguished bankers - and nobody's fool.  
Hill was a leader among the powerful Durham business families -  Duke, Watts, Carr, Hill - who controlled the American Tobacco Company, a worldwide fountain of wealth in early 1900's North Carolina. Mr. Hill was also a Columbia-trained lawyer, who helped form N. C. Blue Cross Blue Shield, Central Carolina Bank, Durham S&L, built The Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill and gave it (!) to UNC, funded the N.C. Historical Collection at the UNC-CH Library, owned numerous prosperous farms, was a State Senator... and that's just the short list. Nobody's fool ... North Carolina's top banker, an exceptional business entrepreneur, concerned philanthropist, and a remarkable human spirit.
✅ But did you know this about that distinguished North Carolina banker, John Sprunt Hill?:
"In 1913, Hill traveled to Europe in an effort to study rural credit systems that had sprung up there in response to widespread poverty. He returned to the United States intent on implementing a similar system at home. North Carolina of that time was more than 80% rural, and the economy farm-based, with a majority of residents living in poverty. He addressed farmers' organizations and congressional committees on the subject."
"Hill remarked that, "Credit union membership is a certificate of character and a badge of honor. Let a person stay in the credit union for ten years and it changes his whole philosophy of life—it is a modern miracle." Soon after passage of the North Carolina Credit Union Act on March 6, 1915 - which Hill personally wrote and shepherded through the Legislature, North Carolina's first credit union opened in 1916, in the southern Durham County community of Lowe's Grove. Hill was called the "Father of Rural Credit in North Carolina." [link entire NCpedia bio]
But here, listen to what that distinguished North Carolina banker, John Sprunt Hill, had to say about credit unions:
"Credit Unions are not banks. Banks are aggregations of money; Credit Unions are aggregations of men [and women!]."

"Credit Unions capitalize the character of the membership."

"A Credit Union organized within a group, the members of which have no credit problems, obviously fills no need and organizations of this type should not be encouraged."
"Credit Unions increase the general prosperity, and thereby improve the community and its other businesses, helping others to attain a better economic status." 

😎 And here is the clincher. Take a look (below) at what the Hill family thought was most important about the man, John Sprunt Hill, on his State Historical Marker. John Sprunt Hill was a shrewd banker first, without question - nobody's fool! - and a highly skilled attorney, who well understood the legal and business purpose distinctions between a bank and a credit union!

"John Sprunt Hill (1869-1961) Banker and attorney. Leader in credit union movement..."  

... and a distinguished citizen of North Carolina who understood: "There is a Difference"... and was proud to be the leading force in bringing that difference to North Carolina.  Nobody's fool! 

And, if you believe that John Sprunt Hill was attempting to set up credit unions in North Carolina to compete against his bank, then 1) you miss the clear evidence that he was nobody's fool... and it's pretty evident that 2) you may be somebody's fool.