U.S. Central Deserved More

Headlines everywhere are focused on today’s uncertain economy and continuing market dislocation. Daily, we hear of another mortgage lender or other big bank in trouble. To be sure, this is a time not seen in the financial industry in recent years. That’s why it is so critical for the financial press to be accurate and fair in its reporting.

The Credit Union Journal brings tremendous value in its coverage of credit unions by reporting the facts–both good and bad. It’s a critical role all reputable publications must play, and I applaud the Journal’s work in this regard. But there is little value in reporting on the sensational or simply the negative without gathering the specifics and including comments that represent all sides of a story. That is what I believe happened in recent reporting on U.S. Central’s decision to seek access to the Federal Reserve Discount Window (Credit Union Journal, May 2, 2008). As the Journal later reported, U.S. Central had been working with the Fed on this initiative for more than a year–well before the current market environment.

Planning ahead to ensure ample liquidity on behalf of credit unions can hardly be compared with the market issues faced by many on Wall Street today. Instead, it should be heralded as a positive and future-thinking strategy–one entirely consistent with our “people-helping-people” philosophy. Credit unions’ cooperative nature is the backbone of our existence. During challenging times, we rally together and close ranks in support of one another to ensure members’ collective best interest is at the forefront. Banks tend to follow a different philosophy.

While we can expect market issues to continue making headlines, we should also expect the credit union press to report fairly on how it affects credit unions. Gather information, ask the tough questions, but also do all of the research.

William B. Birdwell, President/CEO

Southeast Corporate FCU, Tallahassee, Fla.


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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 can be submitted online at www.cujournal.com. (c) 2008 The Credit Union Journal and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved. http://www.cujournal.com http://www.sourcemedia.com