LAS VEGAS - Robert Kravetz, chairman of the $56 million Dept. of Labor Federal Credit Union and a retired Washington, D.C. bureaucrat, knows all about "dysfunctional" CUs since he lived through the rescue of his own six years ago and earned top honors for it from the 2004 National Directors Convention. This week during the NDC annual meeting here Kravetz got another chance to recall the details of what he said was "my horror story" of being a neophyte director plunged into the travails of CU stewardship. "This was what you might call a completely dysfunctional credit union that was doing just everything wrong and with no idea how to fix its problems," explained Kravetz, who was slated to lead a "Best Practices" workshop during the NCCS gathering. Kravetz gave a hint of his planned panel talk in brief remarks before a first-timers session on the first day of the conference telling a Credit Union Times reporter his experience six years ago of suddenly being named chairman and within days facing NCUA examiners warning of an imminent shutdown were character building. The Dept. of Labor chairman said he originally signed on as a director of Dept. of Labor FCU at the urging of a co-worker, but "I knew nothing about credit unions only there were banks and there were credit unions." Once the troubles become evident six months later and he was asked to become chairman succeeding a departing executive, Kravetz said he found himself "on a very fast learning curve." Kravetz, who before his retirement had been executive director of appellate board adjudication in the Labor Department, said he also became embroiled in numerous law suits from various parties involved in CU management with all of the litigation now settled. "I can't tell you how many depositions and interrogatories I went through," said Kravetz who today offers this bit of advice to fellow directors: to avoid pitfalls his CU endured: "don't micromanage" the institution-leave that to the CEO, but be fully aware of changes in CU fortunes. He said Dept. of Labor FCU was a $25 million institution when he started but "it had no leadership" and there was widespread evidence of mismanagement with "no files kept" and serious misjudgments. Kravetz said he is particularly pleased this year that while he got the Best Practices prize from NDC in 2004, his CEO, Joan Moran, won the Best Professional of Year Honor at this year's NAFCU conference here last month. Despite the lawsuits and the "trial by fire" experience, he said he has never regretted "staying on the job with the credit union." Leaving the task unfinished "would not be in my nature," he concluded. -email@example.com
Directors Conference Hears of D.C. `Horror' Tale
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