United We Stand, Divided We Fall

I was just reading your article about the long term forecast for CUs (CU Journal, May 21). I think there is a future, but it will only be for the large credit unions. I am a manager of a small credit union in Upstate New York. We have served the people of a V.A. Medical Center for 55 years.

I never thought in my lifetime that I would say that we do not have a future. But even now I have to come the conclusion that we have to merge or voluntarily liquidate.

It all started when NCUA opened the door for community charters. The large credit unions, who have the marketing money are unstoppable, and I mean unstoppable. They will run over everybody and sooner or later they have to pay or, better yet, should pay taxes. Just look at their fee structure.

Credit unions were never meant to be everything. We were chartered because we had a common bond of either occupation, association or to groups within a well-defined area. Our main objective always has been "Not for profit, not for charity, but for service." And our common goal was for the good or our members in the name of the cooperative spirit and not the bottom line.

Well, NCUA changed that real quick. We are at 15% capital and our board decided that it was time not to increase our capital anymore, guess what? We have been written up ever since.

Over the last four years, an average of 300 small credit unions a year have either merged or closed. Do you think that maybe someone would stop and think about this?

And my credit union will be the next statistic, because we do not have a prayer against billion-dollar community credit unions. I fought relentlessly for years to do the right thing, but with no success. I did not even get to talk to the chairman of the NCUA board, even though I have tried several times to make an appointment.

The true cooperative spirit of all credit unions, big and small, is gone and therefore credit unions as we know them will not be around too much longer. there is an old saying that everyone is familiar with: United We Stand, Divided We Fall.

Margarete H. De May, Manager

V.A. Empl. FCU, Canandaigua N.Y.

Editor's note: this letter was written in response to CU Journal's ongoing series on the future of credit unions, which continues this week on page 12.


Credit Union Journal encourages reader feedback. Letters to the Editor can be sent to Managing Editor Lisa Freeman at lfreeman<at>cujournal.com. Letters can also be faxed to 561-832-2939 or submitted online at www.cujournal.com.