watch subsequent issues for .. . BILLIE CARR REPORTS Paid Pol. Adv. by Billie Carr Expense Fund 2418 Travis, Houston, Texas. \\3 6,f te ANDERSON & COMPANY F COFEE TEA SPICES TWO JEFFERSON SQUARE AUSTIN, TEXAS 78731 512 453-1533 Send me your list. Name Street City Zip in local feminist newsletters and in Houston’s feminist paper, The PointBlank Times. Early results were underwhelming, but they did help identify a core of people who would go on to found and run HAFFCU less than a year later. The really remarkable thing about HAFFCU is the people who got it off square one. The politics of the original working group ranged from Goldwater Republican to Socialist Worker Party. This is not to say, however, that HAFFCU was born without conflict or difficulty. Start-up money was a problem from the beginning. Women have settled on the credit union rather than banks as the vehicle to end credit discrimination because it takes a lot of cash to open a bank, but a credit union can get started by a lot of people who each have only a little money. But there does have to be some money to get a loan and interestearning cycle going at the outset. \(What is left over when a credit union’s bills are paid becomes the interest shares parearly days, no one was promised, and no one received, interest on deposits. The trickle of deposits was barely encouraging. From the way people kept their money tied up elsewhere, one would have thought that the 5 to 6 percent interest they earned on their modest deposits was all the money in the world. But there was still penty of support. At a party given to celebrate HAFFCU’s “into the black” status last June, dozens of people told the officers what a great idea HAFFCU was, what a terrific job they were doing, and that just as soon as HAFFCU was in a position to pay depositors interest rates competitive with their banks, why, they would be happy to open HAFFCU accounts. Money was a problem in another sense as well. Credit unions are set up to run on low budgets since there is usually some parent organization that can supply overhead items such as space, supplies, and personnel. HAFFCU, as all feminist credit unions, is an organizational credit union. In other words, even though HAFFCU was founded upon a common desire to end credit discrimination against women in the Houston area, the National Credit Union Administration souls, insisted that it was not enough for people to simply claim to share that desire. To win approval as a credit union, HAFFCU members would have to belong to “a known feminist organization” cally to an organization with formal ties to HAFFCU. On the first go-around, HAFFCU was able to convince ten organizations to affiliate: the five local chapters of N.O.W., the Houston Rape Crisis Coalition, the Harris County Women’s Political Caucus, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, Federally Employed Women, and the Women’s Equity Action League. But the affiliation deal stipulated that the ten groups had no other obligation to HAFFCU than to verify memberships of people belonging to their organizations. And as for rent, supplies, and personnel, HAFFCU had to pay its own way. A lot of the potential difficulty presented by this added financial burden was avoided by Kathy Whitmire, HAFFCU’s treasurer. Whitmire was able to project within a fifty-dollar range the total operating expenses and capital HAFFCU would need to break even and ultimately pay interest. And every outlay had to be justified to her first. Not all problems have been financial. About a year ago, HAFFCU tried to add to its number of affiliating organizations. But the ground rules had changed. NCUA now demanded that feminist credit unions prove a substantial amount of “co-mingling” of their old and proposed affiliating organizations. A 50 percent overlap in membership was suggested. The feminist movement in Texas was coming together, but such an overlapping was ridiculously unrealistic so soon. After much haggling, it became clear that the real reason behind the change in requirements was a combination of NCUA’s efforts to placate the banks \(which were unhappy about so and the fears of major NCUA policymakers that feminists were all frothing-at-the-mouth radicals. After some persuasion, HAFFCU and some sister credit unions were able to convince NCUA that they were relatively sane and that a reasonable compromise with the complaining banks could be worked out, if only temporarily. Nor have all the fights been with negative forces outside HAFFCU. There have been the inevitable doctrinal disputes: should HAFFCU extend credit to persons who rely on their spouses’ incomes entirely; should small or large loans have priority; should there be a relation between loan levels and length of membership in an affiliating organization to insure the advance of “true” feminism. But, in spite of internal and external problems, the future looks bright for HAFFCU. It managed to pay its first dividend within a year \(an exciting oneevery month save one. But most importantly, HAFFCU is fulfilling its selfappointed role of schooling the public in some of the inequities of the American credit system. J. E. McNeil graduated from Rice and attends the University of Houston law school. She was one of HAFFCU’s original officers. February 11, 1977 19 TEXAS WILD The Land, Plants, and Animals of the Lone Star State by Richard Phelan, photographs by Jim Bones Texas Wild, a book as beautiful and extraordinary as Texas itself, explores region by region the land, the plants and the animals of the Lone Star State. From mountain desert to swampy woodland, from rolling prairie to the semi-tropics, Phelan and Bones celebrate in words and pictures a land of unique and dramatic diversity. Highlighting the geography and the natural history are fascinating tales from the state’s colorful past. “Intelligent, readable, informed, informative … covers a tremendous lot of material with a grasp that indicates solid knowledge and research … such an overall and unchauvinistic treatment of physical and natural Texas has long been needed.” John Graves “A splendid tour … this is excellent armchair travel.” Publishers Weekly 64 pages of full-color photographs, 100 drawings, 8 maps, 83/4″ x 10 3/4″, oversize format. tl C So 9 GARNER & SMITH BOOKSTORE 2116 Guadalupe Austin, Texas 78705 Please send Texas Wild at $25.00 per copy. remittance enclosed charge my account Name Addrecs City State Zip Please add appropriate salex tax & 754 postage per copy.
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