I just had to comment on Paul Gentile's July 12 column on large and small credit unions, and the future of them both. As the former CEO/manager of a small credit union, I was interested in knowing just how the statistics illustrated our plight. Gentile did an outstanding job in bringing to light the situation that exists for so many fine, yet at-risk credit unions. We took the decision to merge with a much larger credit union in 2005. The board considered many factors in deciding how to approach the membership with their thoughts. We all looked at where we were then, healthy and robust, as well as where we thought we would be in one, three and five years. The answer was obvious--we lacked the resources to promote additional products and services. With stagnant growth and a small faith-based sponsor, we predicted that within two years the inevitable end was to go out with hat-in-hand to solicit another credit union to merge with us. Instead, we presented scenarios to our members and let them decide. They chose to be proactive and merge with the credit union that had made us a very attractive offer. The result has been outstanding, both for the members and for the sponsor. I applaud Gentile for bringing this situation to light, and encouraging all smaller credit unions to at least consider the possibility of merging, if not for the sake of prosperity, then for the survival of the member/owner base. They can continue to be part of the same group, but with many more options for services and products than they ever had before. Keep up the good work, Paul. The industry needs more clear-headed, objective thinkers like you to help us help ourselves. David LeNoir Business Development Officer Army Aviation Center FCU Mobile, Alabama
Gentile Nailed it; Small CUs Must Consider Their Future Now
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