Ensweiler Regrets `Test' Lost in Ending of Dakota Talks
DALLAS - CUNA Chairman Richard Ensweiler has expressed regret that "an opportunity for testing may be lost" in the apparent collapse of a planned consolidation of the two Dakota Leagues. "There's always pride and history when you put together two organizations and it does represent a challenge," declared Ensweiler, president and CEO of the Texas Credit Union League. Unfortunately, he said, the planned consolidation of the North and South Dakota Leagues into the nearly defunct Mid-America Credit Union League might have served as a "model" or "might have been instructive" to the industry on the future of League management. "I had heard recently that the consolidation wasn't working but I had hoped we would have theirs as a model to pursue - an experiment we could all look it," he said. As in previous attempts at League combinations, he said, the goal has been to "rid the organizations of duplicated efforts and expense - two accounting departments, human relations, IT and training," for instance. Though Leagues across the country share a variety of services and products, the consolidation concept permitted two regional Leagues "to work closer together" in cost savings. On another topic, the CUNA chairman said he would be seeking a second one year term during CUNA Board elections to be held at the conclusion of the Future Forum conference in Honolulu at the end of the month. "I've enjoyed my term very much and I feel confident that the credit union movement has been headed in the right direction as we are heavily engaged in a war declared by banks at both the national and state level," said Ensweiler. Regarding bank attacks, the CUNA chairman also revealed he planned to phone the outgoing chairman of the American Bankers Association, Kenneth Fergeson, of Altus, Okla., to complain about "inappropriate bashing" of credit unions during a Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas conference Sept. 29. The Dallas Fed meeting attended by CU and bank representatives was on Hispanic outreach, but Fergeson "used the podium" to blast CUs, declared Ensweiler. Despite the deep differences between the two trade groups, Ensweiler said he has had a cordial relationship with Fergeson , president of NBC Bank of Altus, but Fergeson's Dallas Fed talk crossed the line. "I congratulated and complimented him" after Fergeson's appearance and tough treatment at the GAC meeting in February, but "this was too much," said Ensweiler.