Was Avoiding TARP Worth Sitting On All The TACS?

While the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was being rolled out before a shocked Congress and national taxpayer audience, NCUA, CUNA, NAFCU and NPCUs were quietly (some even smugly) sitting on the Toxic Asset Containment Secret (TACS). While the "Big Boys" were getting their public licks for being scared into financial mistrust and inactivity and having to be coaxed out of their frozen positions in the marketplace with public money, the CU industry was hiding our own Corporate problems while proclaiming the "Little Guys" don't bailout.

Now, almost two years later, the "Big Boys" are all emerging from TARP, having grown considerably (financially and operationally), as well as having turned a 10% profit for the taxpayer. And the "Little Guys"...well, we're still sitting on TACS, growing in pain (financially and operationally) as we bleed a 3% loss in capital with not even a bandaid in sight. One would almost think the Little Guys are supposed to be stoic about our diminutive status and position in the financial marketplace, muddling and mumbling our way along out of pride rather than common sense and only getting pushed harder on TACS, squirming and bleeding more, no end in sight.

Neither the Big Boys' troubled assets nor the Little Guys' toxic assets have yet to be resolved, except for the fact that the first are guaranteed by 350 million taxpayers to be resolved, while the latter are guaranteed by 100 million credit union members. The first guarantee was legislatively passed in Congress, while the latter guarantee was administratively decreed by the NCUA. For the first, the triage of public exposure, subsequent vilification and following corrective action seems to have staunched the wound. While for us, mere serfs, our Emperor seems to have lost his clothes as he continues to fund this fairy tale of TACS.

So much for the Little Guys thinking we are the democratic solution when faced with real democracy in action.

Mike Dillon, VP-Marketing
South Division CU, Evergreen Park, Ill.