Consumers Deserve Financial Svc.
I was certainly impressed by Raul Pickett in his article "Defining Modest Means Isn't the Issue-Fulfilling Social Missions Is." (CUJ May 21)
Raul put into words the thoughts I have regarding "modest means", "underserved" and other labels attached to a large number of Americans. These American Consumers deserve to receive financial services. I agree whole heartedly with his view of the credit union responsibility.
Sharon Angle, President CEO
Butte Federal Credit Union, Biggs, Calif.
Former Banker Sees Bright Future
In regard to the article addressing credit unions' future; as a former banker and now eight-year credit union believer I can state unequivocally that the credit union industry future is as bright as ever. As with any business or industry, the keys to success will be adapting to the changing competitive environment, listening to and addressing our members' needs and bringing value and communicating that value to our members. Trying to compete with new car loan pricing (why play in a card game with a stacked deck?) and then relying on overdraft or courtesy pay fees (often to the great detriment of the very people we espouse to help) to make up for a shrinking margin isn't the answer.
It's been my experience that consumers will be willing to pay a fair price for loans and other financial products when they see value in the relationship. While many in our chosen line of work complain about the lack of consumer loyalty, I would say it's the consumer that feels a lack of loyalty from their financial institution. The reliance on credit scores, bankruptcy predictors and other modeling software to the exclusion of the relationship between credit union and member is the wedge that will send many otherwise quality members away.
The numbers in Oregon alone are staggering and demonstrate a demand and need for fairly priced financial services; over $2 billion dollars in high APR consumer finance loans were on the books in 2005 including real estate, payday and title loans. Our challenge as a credit union movement will be to get the message out of what credit unions are truly capable of; bringing value, trust and affordable financial services to those who want and need them most.
Ken Olson, Executive VP
Old West FCU
Letters can be sent to Managing Editor Lisa Freeman at lfreeman<at>cujournal.com. or faxed to 561-832-2939 or online at www.cujournal.com.