First Entertainment Credit Union's primary obligation is to its own membership rather than to small credit unions, other large credit unions or, especially, to the esoteric concept of a credit union movement to which one has a duty to sacrifice. Notwithstanding Cooke's lament, moving forward there must be an indestructible firewall between the corporate credit unions and First Entertainment's membership. Anything less ironclad is unacceptable and irresponsible.
Perhaps Cooke has forgotten that she raised that very important point in her Feb. 4 column. She stated, "While the corporate credit union network as it stands served credit unions well for a few decades, in economic crisis like this, credit unions must seriously weigh their duty to their members to continue to provide services against their duty to the movement."
For those natural person credit unions that choose to move their investment and payment systems business to other vendors, the continued existence of federally insured corporate credit unions is a risk that can't be tolerated--no matter who might rely on them for "affordable services" as cited by Cooke.
In retrospect, the dangerously interconnected corporate credit unions' past services came at an enormous cost. If the full expenses as we now know them were retroactively applied, the corporate credit unions' pricing would have been prohibitive. Those so-called affordable services for small and large credit unions alike were in fact heavily subsidized by the NCUSIF-as we now see with great and painful clarity.
If an indestructible firewall cannot be built around the corporate credit unions, then they should cease to exist regardless of whom or what sized credit union might miss them.
Cooke should not confuse her affection for small credit unions and admiration of cooperative principles for good public policy concerning the corporate credit unions. A natural person credit union's duty to its own members unequivocally outweighs its duty to the movement.
First Entertainment's membership deserves better treatment than to have their pockets picked to pay for the failed business models of corporate credit unions.
Charles Bruen, President/CEO
First Entertainment Credit Union, Hollywood, Calif.