If history repeats itself, 2022 stands to be memorable for the same reason 2021 was forgettable.
That is, it will be exhausting.
Like a deviant version of “The Old Farmer’s Almanac,” let’s see what 2022 has in store.
The coronavirus pandemic continues as the omicron variant appears like another “Raiders of the Lost Ark” movie: unwanted and without any plot.
The East Coast will be unusually warm for this time of year due to the return of a large influx of hot air, a.k.a. “Congress.”
Prepare for the return of the “Polar Vortex,” which will announce its challenge to “Global Warming” in the upcoming primary election.
At the end of the month, many credit union leaders will flock to the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference where they’ll step away from Zoom and meet with legislators.
A new coronavirus variant will become prevalent and, having run out of Greek letters due to supply chain issues, will be named after the movie “Titanic.”
The Federal Reserve will surprise nobody—besides everyone in the stock market—by coming out with a much-expected surprise rate increase.
Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, in a dramatic race to build the moon’s first theme park, will launch their rockets on the same day. Due to programming issues, both will miss the moon and float around in space for a few months.
In an unrelated event, both Amazon and Tesla stocks hit new highs.
Car dealers see their lots fill as supply chain issues ease. This will be done by substituting modern microprocessors with recycled TRS-80 computers.
As such, all navigation systems will use only “Bing,” music will be limited to Napster downloads, and GPS navigation will consist of your spouse saying, “you missed the exit.”
The Fed decides after an energetic game of “rock, paper, scissors” to do two discount rate increases. This takes the markets by surprise, so they naturally set new highs.
This is also when Elon Musk and Jeff Bazos almost return to earth but are thwarted by relying on Google Maps for directions.
With interest in the coronavirus fading faster than Nicholas Cage’s career, most of the country goes on vacation at the same moment. With motels and hotels full, Airbnb expands service to include hammocks.
On the legislative front, Congress, in a sudden show of bipartisanship, tackles the thorny issue of whether to allow pineapple on pizza. A rare show of unity results in a statement acknowledging this practice as “the most abhorrent action against nature since allowing catsup on hot dogs.”
NCUA and FDIC release new guidance on cryptocurrency only to discover that their only copy was written in “Wingdings” text. Still, it is widely regarded as an improvement.
Car sales slow dramatically due to a shortage of power windows and consumers’ inability to understand hand-crank versions.
In-person education returns despite the spread of a new coronavirus variant, which is unknown to most because the only network reporting it is C-SPAN.
As more workers return to their offices, many are dismayed to find that nobody has cleaned out the break room fridge since early 2020.
In a unique twist, the cure for coronavirus is found in a Tupperware container labeled, “macaroni salad 3/20.”
Unemployment and inflation continue to rise, forcing the Fed to balance its competing goals of price stability and full employment by signing Tom Brady to the board.
Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk crash land on an island populated by cannibals. They survive, however, as the natives find them both “indigestible.”
NCUA attempts to return to in-person examinations, only to find most credit unions moved out in the middle of the night and left no forwarding address.
The election goes off flawlessly, with a vast majority of the electorate confident in the outcome. That will be in New Zealand.
In the U.S., the election will guarantee full employment for lawyers through 2023.
A weather equivalent of a “white elephant” will begin with states getting alternating heat waves, fires, and snowstorms all during the same day.
Economically, fear of a recession in 2023 will dominate because this claim boosts click-throughs.
Finally, a certain Credit Union Magazine columnist will release his 2023 forecast after dismissing 2022 as a “fluke.”
The Federal Reserve will increase rates faster and higher than current consensus. It will sacrifice unemployment for lower inflation as nobody wants to return to the early 1980s.
Auto lending will improve from 2020’s dismal numbers but not enough to satisfy anyone. Many will blame supply chain issues, but higher inflation and increased rates will make cars more expensive.
Real estate lending will continue to hum along, although some areas which have experienced “Rocky Mountain High” price increases will have a bit of Narcan experience: alert but not remembering what happened.
The SAFE Banking Act will be introduced in one form or other at least six times, only to be dismissed at every turn—not unlike my prom experience in 12th grade.
Credit union ratios will be all over the place. Return on assets will drop due to yield compression and inflation. Net worth will increase as members finally withdraw socked-away deposits.
Delinquencies and charge-offs will increase later in the year as the Fed’s actions finally impact credit quality.
JAMES COLLINS is president/CEO of O Bee Credit Union in Lacey, Wash., and Credit Union Magazine’s humor columnist.