Sorry Mr. Welch, but I Think We'll Stay in Business
I was upset by publisher Mike Welch's Aug. 3 column entitled, "There are Some Things That CUs Can do Without," as I've determined that our credit union is one of those that Mr. Welch says should be eliminated. I guess he would want us to convert to a bank charter as somehow our credit union is damaging the movement. We do not want to be a bank, in fact. I thought we had an excellent credit union until Mr. Welch explained how bad we are for the movement. I hope that we can hire him as a consultant to get our credit union straightened out. We are struggling under the misconception that paying high returns to our members while charging low rates on loans with below market fees, if any, was benefiting our members. Our current rate on share accounts is 3.29% APY with CD's yields as high as 4.86%. Our new auto rate is as low as 4.50% APR while our 30-year fixed rate real estate loan rate is 5.60% APR. We charge a $12 fee for an NSF and we have a few other fees. Our total fee income is one of the lowest of a top 100 asset size credit union. Our goal is to return better than 70% of our gross income back to our members which we consistently do. We have 10 offices and a new office in the planning stage and we have 10 ATMs. Our membership -we have about 53,000 - has given us a very satisfied rating for the past several years. When I started to work with our credit union we had all the deposits loaned out. They accomplished the task by limiting the amount of money that a member could deposit during a month and also the total balance in his account had a limit. I am sure that it is shocking to Mr. Welch that we removed those limits and allowed our members to use us as their primary financial institution. It seems to me that we have enough fragmentations in the credit union community now without Mr. Welch trying to create another one. To me something I could do without is a misinformed writer such as Mr. Welch. Larry Morgan President APCO Employees CU Birmingham, Ala.