Unanimity Impossible, But a United Front Is Vital for CU Movement

In tumultuous times such as these, it's no surprise that credit unions will not always be unanimous about the variety of issues they face. As the board of the national trade association representing all credit unions, it's our job to work through the thicket of different opinions and come to what we believe to be the best solutions for the movement as a whole. It's not always easy or straightforward, but through a diverse committee and board structure, I believe all points of view are considered before we make decisions.

Given my understanding of all that we do to reach the best policy decisions, I was very disappointed to read Dennis Fisher's Letter to the Editor ("Time for New CUNA Leadership?" CU Journal, June 15). Mr. Fisher suggests that CUNA's recent position to seek credit union access to TARP funding and to find a mechanism for spreading out the share insurance costs represented "a very small minority" of credit unions. The policy decision to seek government assistance to protect the credit union system was adopted by the CUNA Board based on input from both CUNA's Corporate Credit Union Task Force and Small Credit Union Committee.

The breadth of credit union support for spreading the cost of the corporate stabilization over several years is borne out by the over 20,000 credit union contacts to NCUA asking the Agency to do just that in March of this year. In addition to this overwhelming support for the policy, there are two really good reasons for credit unions NOT to have to pay the full cost of the corporate stabilization this year.

First, doing so would have placed an unnecessary financial burden on a number of credit unions of various sizes. Admittedly a few credit unions may have engaged in operations that stretched their capacities too far in recent years. Most, however tend to be credit unions whose only mistake is to be located in a part of the country or to have a field of membership most heavily affected by the financial crisis.

The other reason is that we really don't know what the eventual costs of stabilizing the corporates will be. Spreading the payment over several years will allow NCUA to adjust the payments in the future once they learn more about what the actual losses are or will be. Unfortunately, there will be no way to really get this behind us until the actual losses are revealed over the next three to five years.

We on the CUNA board take our roles very seriously. I encourage all credit unions to take the opportunity to let your elected Board member, your league, and CUNA know your views whenever you feel it appropriate.

Kris Mecham
CUNA Board of Directors
Deseret First Federal Credit Union
Salt Lake City, Utah