A Passion for Member Services Will Help Small CUs Survive
I was deeply disturb and disappointed at the letter that appeared in the July 7 issue from Charles Bruen, president/CEO of First Entertainment CU, voicing his views of the survival of small credit unions.
Working at a small credit union that is 14 years old with less than $1 million in assets, I take exception to his analysis that small credit unions are too small to survive in today's environment. Perhaps Bruen forgot that every credit union started small, and need I remind him that large credit unions fully staffed with unlimited resources (compliance officers, etc.) are failing too?
Small credit unions, especially CDCU's and faith-based credit unions, are passionate about the needs of the people they serve. The commitment is much more than numbers on paper but about the people.
It's true we face monstrous regulations and compliance issues that seem to be changing daily, but that does not cloud our vision of make us lose our focus to continue providing services to our members and the community. Many small credit unions are faith-based or have close relationships with houses of worship and believe that walking by faith and not by sight is one reason to continue despite the many challenges and obstacles we face.
Unfortunately, not enough attention is given to what a great job and the tremendous service some of our small credit unions are doing. The focus is on big. The concept because your assets are small you can't provide the services is just not true.
Instead of predicting our demise, perhaps Bruen should go back to the history and philosophy of the credit union movement and while at it review the credit union motto. "people helping people" and reach out and look for ways to support and help us survive. In other words, lend a helping hand-and not spread doom and gloom-by offering his compliance officer to help small credit unions.
I'm glad Bruen is not voicing the sentiments of other large credit unions because many of them do help small credit unions. Several large credit unions have reached out to help us and continue to do so.
Will some small credit unions close? Yes. But the bottom line is many will survive because they are run by dedicated, committed individuals (many volunteers) that have a deep passion for what they are doing and will do what is necessary to survive.
Since Bruen is not with a small credit union, how can he possibly know and understand that for many of us it's about commitment, dedication and determination to keep a path open for those we serve.
Shirley I. Spruill
Development Credit Union