An Alaskan Story: Does the NCUA Protect the Status Quo?
As a member and past chair of the board of directors of the $43 million ALPS Federal Credit Union in Sitka, Alaska, I would like to share with your readers an Alaskan story. This January some of our members, dissatisfied with our board, began the process of recalling the whole board and sought an interim board until regular elections could be held. We organized and had a petition drive in order to get 5% of our membership to sign, which we did quite easily.
We submitted more than the requisite number of names along with a cover letter describing our reasons for recalling the board to our supervisory committee chair.
At this point, knowing that we might meet resistance, we contacted the NCUA to make it aware of what we were attempting to do. Several days later when we asked the supervisory committee chair how the process was progressing, he told us that everything had been turned over to the board of directors as suggested by the NCUA rep.
By this action, the NCUA took the ownership of this member's petition process away and gave it to the board, which was in the process of being recalled. We have talked repeatedly with several NCUA reps and have been told that is was a matter of interpretation. The board now will determine its own recall process, can pick its own replacements and hire a new CEO to replace the one it just forced out.
We have been told by the NCUA the 30-day special meeting time clock has started, but it doesn't know when it started. We don't know the special meeting date, when and how members will be notified, how the vote will be conducted, how the interim board might be selected and who will comprise it.
We are only part way through this process and are here for the long haul. We had the best CEO and have the best staff of any financial institution around, and they deserve our best effort. As is true with most credit unions, I think the demographic is changing to a younger membership, and it's time that our boards reflect this. We're trying to go from Mayberry RFD to Sitka, Alaska, 2010.
My impression is that the NCUA is trying to preserve the status quo. Though it has told me different, I can only observe what I see here.