Hamer Should Not Be Blamed for Norlarco CU Conservatorship
As a friend and long term colleague of Bob Hamer, the former CEO of Norlarco Credit Union in Fort Collins, Colo., I have closely followed the chronology of events that have taken place since August 2006 when he became CEO there:
Within a week of his arrival Bob received a Document of Resolution from the NCUA addressing the deeply embedded risk and inevitable financial loss residing within the residential construction loan program Norlarco commenced in 2001. Bob and his team immediately agreed that no new loans should be issued and pledged to work in cooperation with the regulators.
From August 2006 to April 2007, while continuing to manage and lead the credit union, Bob worked proactively with the team and volunteers who had been in place at Norlarco, their business partners and other financial institution investors to reduce the number of outstanding loans from around 2,200 to approximately 1,250. (I worked briefly with Norlarco during this time to assist on a communications plan.)
In May 2007, the NCUA opted to assume responsibility for the residential construction loan program and placed Norlarco in conservatorship. Despite dismissal of the board, Bob and his team were kept on to manage and lead the credit union while honoring the position and guidance of the regulators.
Public Service Credit Union won the bid for purchase and assumption of Norlarco in late January 2008 and officially integrated Norlarco as of Feb. 29, 2008. Bob and a few others were let go at that time while the majority of staff were retained.
The reporting of Credit Union Times has been quite fair and accurate on this and other stories. However, without knowledge of the person quoted (Dave Maus) or context, I take strong exception to your story from March 3, which states:
"Maus (CEO of PSCU) told The Coloradoan, a Fort Collins daily that PSCU offered jobs to Norlarco employees in good standing 'who will embrace and adapt to our business ethics and strong management principles.' Hamer was 'one of the people we didn't feel could do that,' Maus was quoted. 'The business model that he has endorsed at Norlarco doesn't fit in with our business model and strong desire to serve the local community.'"
I do not know Mr. Maus, and I understand that PSCU is a good credit union. I want to give him the benefit of the possibility that his words were placed out of context. I and hundreds of others in credit unions do know Bob Hamer for his honesty, ethics, compassion, analytics and strength. He is not one to lay blame, nor is he one to be blamed. I believe that we who have the good fortune to work in credit unions must be mindful that thoughtless words in a public forum, aimed unfairly at another hard working, well-intentioned human being, harm us all.
Editor's Note: Credit Union Times stands behind its reporting.