Sept. 29, 2008


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  • What a great article! Your points are well made!
  • Exceptional Article! this needs to be in the business section of all major news papers so people can learn the real difference and value of Credit Unions.
    Rifat Ikram
  • Well said. Credit Unions have always been the "average Joe's" best financial resource.
    Michelle Rosner
  • I thought this was a well written article. I believe in with Chip's opinion on the subject matter. Everything should be put into perspective during these hard ships. Looking at the long term effect of this aid project may have harsh affects on the market and I definitely don't agree with passing the $700 billion proposal. It makes me glad that I work for a credit union knowing that our practices are extremely ethical and our stance in the marketplace is recognized in a positive way. Thanks
    Eric Brotherson
  • I was taken aback when I saw the first article of Dan Mica boasting how hard everyone was working to make sure CUs were included in the bail out. I had erroneously assumed we would keep our white hats spotless.
  • Very lucid explanation for the credit union difference. More important than ever!
  • Very nicely stated. We SHOULD NOT be tarred with that same brush!
    Roy Campana
  • I think this moment in history can be our defining point as credit unions. We have never been able to clearly define ourselves as different than banks in the eyes of the consumers no matter how much we market our position. The fact that we do not take tax payer bailout money should speak volumes for us as financial cooperatives.
    Mary Beth Wilcher
  • Excellent and right on Target! These are the 'times that try men's souls' and this article reminds me of another saying that's not so well known. "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything." Credit unions are standing and will continue to stand when we are educated by leaders and associates such as Chip (Callahan & Associates) who are experts and knowledgeable in the industry. I am looking forward to the next explanatory articles.
  • Let's not overstate our case. CUs lost depositor funds in Rhode Island in 1991. Several CUs have already been consumed by this crisis. Corporate investments are involved. Now is not the time to be making statements like, "Our economy is sound!"
    Bill Myers
  • Absolutely terrific article! Certainly suitable to be passed on to CU staff to encourage our members that their money is definitely safe with our CU.
  • An excellent piece for perspective. I haven't seen it stated in this way and it is thought provoking as framed. thanks Chip.
    Rob Givens
  • Credit Unions should not take money because they don't need it. If your credit union is strong, there's no issue.
  • I also respectfully disagree with comments #13 and #17. If CUs do not take the Kings Schilling now then we still have something compelling to lobby our case in the future (no increased oversight or consolidated oversight where CUs are not important). We are part of the solution. This would give CUNA/NAFCU facts to lobby our case with when the time comes (and it will). This is exactly the time I expect CUNA/NAFCU to rise to the occasion and use the political capital they've developed over the years (that we've all enabled or explicitly helped them to create through hike the hill, etc). Don't include CUs in the bailout. Don't mess with the cooperative structure or regulatory oversight that is still working for millions of Americans. In fact, CUs should be allowed/encouraged by the government to become even more relevant in the future of mega mega global banks where competition is reduced and consumers pay the price. CUs are local...we supply many good jobs (from teller to executive positions) in local U.S. communities -- we will always do so and that local support will only increase unless CUs are restricted in their ability to help.
  • I apologize to Mr. Dowling and others for not being more clear about my comment concerning the NCUSIF. Credit unions can indeed take great pride in not ever experiencing losses that caused a cost to the taxpayers. However, politicians and bureaucrats will use the "full faith and credit" factor as their underlying rationale for changing the rules concerning CU taxation and regulation. It is political reality, although not necessarily based in reality.
    Marvin Umholtz
  • As usual, Mr. Filson provides a very thoughtful and timely piece exhibiting a level of wisdom few of us pocess. Mr. Umholtz (Comment #13) misses the point. His reference to Federal Insurance ignores the fact that credit unions and not tax payer dollars fund the NCUSIF. We have yet to take the Kings Schilling and I hope we never do.
    Raymond Dowling
  • I agree with Chip and not with comment #13. CUs have never taken the Kings Schilling (not yet anyway) and there is no indication we will need to despite current conditions outside of the CU system. Just because CUs are backed by the government should NCUSIF fail doesn't mean CUs have ever been a drain on taxpayers or the government.

    We should not be a part of this current government solution or future resolutions and increased oversight. Paulson has his own reasons and motivations for drawing CUs into this despite the facts (see comment 14 from Guy Messick)...CUNA/NAFCU BE WARNED what you are doing in lobbying for this and the consequences it will have for us!!! As for NCUA's desire for CUs to be a part of this bailout: the word "clueless" comes to mind -- which isn't anything I wouldn't have already expected from them.
  • Very well stated Chip. We have to be very careful here. The Treasury Report on the financial services industry wants to consolidate the regulation of all banks and credit unions. This crisis could accelerate the serious consideration of that proposal. If we want to continue to be separately regulated from banks, we should use this crisis to distinguish the credit union industry from the banks. It is important to not only be a solution that is independent of government subsidies but to let th
    Guy Messick
  • Credit unions have already taken the King's shilling decades ago. It is called federal share/deposit insurance. The "full faith and credit" of the federal government always comes with a price, despite the fact that credit unions are themselves paying for the NCUSIF.
    Marvin Umholtz
  • I, too, was surprised that CUNA took such a strong stance to have cu's included in the bailout. It kind of makes me wonder if Mr. Mica has more information about potential underlying problems in CU land that most of us are unaware of. Is it possible that some cu's need that bailout plan? If you look at the 5300's for the first half of the year, you'll spot several cu's that have taken significant hits to their loan loss reserves. That additional PLL expense is likely directly related to some uncertainty in the asset quality of their mortgage portfolios. And, what about Corporates? The nature of their balance sheet, with emphasis on ABS and MBS securities, and investments in US Cemtra;, would suggest there may be issues there. Having said that, I applaud Chip for a great perspective on the issue, and support his views. I just wonder if there is something else just under the surface compelling CUNA to take this position.
  • Comments so far are 'long' on agreement but 'short' on solutions. Is there a role for regional Corporate Credit Unions supported by some investment vehicle withn which 'troubled loans' could be consolidated and shared?? Credit Unions and the NCUA also must convince the various Examining Authorities to accept their 'workout' arrangements negotiated with 'troubled' borrowers that should be highly preferred over foreclosure. Absolutely, the Credit Union Movement should be very alert and not reach for this 'safety net,' and thereby 'swim free' from all the hooks that go with accepting government intervention.
    Jim Nichols
  • Thanks for everyone’s comments. Regarding the Corporates, please see part II of my article on the price to be paid. I don't believe that as currently proposed the bailout would in any way help the Corporates, unless the gov't was willing to pay book value or close to. I don't think that will happen. The SEC-FASB rule change giving greater flexibility on mark to market accounting may be more important for the corporate networks who are holding securities for which there is no ready market. Chip
    Chip Filson
  • Not only would our participation in this “bailout” be a serious error it would sound a hastened death knell for many small and mid sized credit union’s. An examination of the financial problems, as far as credit union’s is concerned, easily finds that those among us who have participated in the risky business would welcome the bailout. It would also sweep under the rug the actions or lack thereof of credit unions, regulators and trade associations as well as a Congress that steered us firmly into this morass. Simple participation would color us with the same greedy weakness and further serve to make us just another “bank”. Congress really enabled “sub prime” lending through CRA type legislation. Bankers and yes even some credit union’s seized what they believed was a revenue opportunity without properly assessing the risk in such action. Regulators, for whatever reason, lost their focus on issues of safety and soundness and concentrated on the subjective idiocy foisted on us about BSA, Patriot, Pandemic and Red Flag issues. In short the eye came off the ball and, wonder of wonders, they lost it. Don’t believe me ask small credit unions about the writings by their State or NCUA examiners most of which is devoted to BSA type stuff. Thank God most credit union Boards and Managers kept their good sense and did not participate in the idiocy. We should not participate in the bailout for many reasons but one really stands out. “If the bad actors in our movement are bailed out that is their bad investments are paid out with taxpayer dollars they will be strengthened unfairly and use this new found strength to compete against and eventually wipe out smaller credit unions”. Much of this happens now when big credit unions (who have failed because of their risky ventures) are merged into bigger credit unions using our funds to buy out the bad paper by a regulator/insurer who has no need to support his actions because there is not even a modest amount of
    Dennis Moriarity