The NCUA recently announced that migrating U.S. Central Bridge Federal Credit Union's ACH services to other providers has been occurring faster than initially estimated. NCUA also noted that all of U.S. Central Bridge's other correspondent services have been wound down and its doors will close by the end of October.
Like me, I'm sure many people who have long been involved with U.S. Central and the corporate system felt a mix of emotions when they saw this news. Yes, the financial crisis brought U.S. Central to its knees and that caused much pain; but U.S. Central also did a great deal of good work on behalf of credit unions over more than three decades. On reflection, I'm very grateful for the high degree of dedication and hard work of the U.S. Central staff-both during this transition and throughout the organization's many years of service.
A First-Hand Look
As president/CEO of Louisiana Corporate Credit Union and a former NCUA Examiner, I experienced U.S. Central's value proposition firsthand. U.S. Central and the corporate network were at the forefront of changing technology. The national automated settlement system was unparalleled in its efficiency, cost effectiveness and ability to link together the entire credit union financial system.
I also have ample reason to appreciate the exceptional service U.S. Central provided my organization and our member credit unions, in 2005. When Hurricane Katrina roared through the Gulf Coast, LaCorp's physical location had to be shuttered, posing a major hardship to nearly 100 credit unions on top of the unimaginable disaster they were facing. LaCorp worked out of U.S. Central's offices under the terms of our disaster recovery agreement, but many on U.S. Central's staff went beyond the call of duty.
Along with some of our corporate, credit union, and CUSO friends, they helped keep our staff's spirits up, contributed to their personal needs and assisted with placing dependents in schools and finding physicians and other community resources. For three months, LaCorp was able to operate "business as usual" in a time of extreme need.
That's the kind of "people-helping-people" personal care and concern that makes the credit union community succeed. With all of our high-tech advances, it still comes down to one person helping another to get the job done. U.S. Central and the corporate network have always stood for cooperation at its best. And it has been evident again over the past several months as employees of U.S. Central, the NCUA and many of the corporates worked tirelessly to help make the transition to alternative services as smooth as possible.
So, before we close the book on U.S. Central's history, here's thanks to the many people who worked for and with the "corporate's corporate" to benefit our industry in very tangible ways.
David Savoie is president/CEO of Louisiana Corporate, Baton Rouge, La.