Mr. Umholtz, I Can Answer Your Questions
I would like to address some of the issues raised by Marv Umholtz in his June 8th letter to the editor, with the following letter of my own to Mr. Umholtz: Mr. Umholtz, You asked "who is better positioned to represent these specific converting credit unions? The members, the NCUA, league presidents, pundits and outside agitators or each credit union's local board members and management?" I would answer your question with a few questions of my own; who gets to decide mergers and acquisitions in the for profit world of stock owned institutions? The answer is the owner/stockholders. Who owns the credit union? Is it the board members and management or is it the member/owners? Mr. Umholtz, NCUA is simply trying to ensure that the credit union members are properly and adequately informed to make this decision. By the way, I note that you used the term "converting credit unions" in your question. Do you know something that we don't; is the decision a "done deal" or is it simply a foregone conclusion since everyone knows that the members don't have a clue as to what is being taken away from them? In your letter you state that "there are Coalition members who believe that every credit union is crazy not to convert in order to access and leverage new capital". To what end Mr. Umholtz, and for whose benefit? Could it be for those who are "best positioned to make the decision" in the first place.the board members and management? That certainly seems to be how it has worked out where they have taken the next step and changed from a mutual savings bank to a stock owned institution. And time is proving that most who convert do in fact take this next step. If it really is such a good financial decision for the credit union to convert and if there is no intent to benefit the insiders, why don't these visionary leaders structure the deal so that the members are guaranteed retention of at least 75% of their equity in the form of stock? Mr. Umholtz, I think you know the underlying reason for these conversions and it is not honorable and noble. The individuals who engage in these activities are real slick and quite adept at rationalizing their actions. And, I suspect that like most "hired guns" you can rationalize right along with the best of them. You also asked that we look at those sitting around us at credit union meetings, and suggested that "these are the people that you liken to insiders, wheeler-dealers, characters, con-artists, liars and co-conspirators." You went on to say "They deserve better. Where is your trust and faith in others?" Well sir, I have sat next to some of these wolves in sheep's clothing, and they are very hard to spot. Their actions, which ultimately take the equity from the members and transfer it to their own pockets is worthy of little more than our disdain and nothing you or they say will change what they really are. Marshall Boutwell President/CEO Gwinnett FCU Lawrenceville, Ga.