I appreciated the coverage in Credit Union Journal's March 4 issue, in which a lot of ink was given to the petition campaign launched by Chip Filson, Chairman of Callahan & Associates.
While Frank Diekmann's column noted it's an uphill climb to garner 100,000 signatures, this is a vitally important initiative that could favorably benefit credit unions and their members. By requesting the White House to nominate regulatory leaders who will follow cooperative principles, we can ensure that rules and exams consider credit unions' purpose and motivation.
I'm helping with this campaign because I deeply believe in credit unions' cooperative structure and purpose. My 30 years in the credit union community have shown me the importance of credit unions to people and their communities. Like most whose careers have been largely with credit unions, I truly believe in the power of cooperation.
Three points drive it home:
Credit unions are financial cooperatives owned by their members. As cooperatives, our goal is to put member-owners first. That means offering competitive rates and quality services at fees that are as low as we can manage and remain viable.
Credit unions shouldn't be treated like banks. Credit unions are democratically organized and built by members who fund them. They start without any capital-just a desire to help improve people's financial wellbeing.
Regulatory leaders should answer to the same cooperative standards as credit unions. The Federal Credit Union Act states the NCUA Board should design its PCA system on the "Cooperative character of credit unions" and "take into account that credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives."
If there's a disconnect between the regulatory process and credit unions' purpose, it's time to set that aright. We should ask for change at www.coops4change.com.
Margaret Blankers, President
MJB Public Relations Group