Kerry Parker, president/CEO of A+ Federal Credit Union in Austin, Texas, is one of many credit union executives helping newly conserved corporates plan for the future of corporate services.
Parker is one of a select group of 13 top CU executives from across the Southwest and West picked last month by management of the NCUA-conserved Southwest Corporate FCU to make suggestions and advise the NCUA and Southwest how to proceed in dealing with an array of endangered corporate services from investments to check processing.
"This is hardly a job I could ever want but is one I agreed to take on for the sake of my fellow CEOs in helping chart exactly how we manage our future business with the corporates and how we come up with the ideal business model," declared Parker, head of the $822 million Texas CU and a member of a special executive committee of the volunteer Southwest Corporate Advisory Council.
Triggered by widespread industry concern about the prospects for service disruptions following Southwest's Sept. 24 seizure and morphing to a bridge corporate, scores of executives from member CUs from Oregon to Louisiana signed up to serve as "advisers" with 140 eventually named to the umbrella council.
"Yes, that was a sizable turnout which is why the Southwest management team apparently chose to trim it down," said Parker, who described the 140 members as an "intermediary" group with the 13-member executive committee serving as a key sounding board.
Based on her many visits and e-mail communication with CUs across Texas and elsewhere in several online and in-person meetings of the panel, Parker said she continues to tap into deep anxiety. "It's all about uncertainty and no one likes to operate under those conditions," observed Parker, noting that the panel has reviewed the various options presented by NCUA for the five conserved corporates, including mergers, new formations, CUSO variations and other proposals.
Except for its bad investments, Parker said, Southwest has served CUs well. She praised existing management and the NCUA-named interim CEO Dianne Addington "for doing an incredible job of gathering the facts and sorting out practical options" while soliciting views of users like A+.
Echoing Parker on the panel's role is another member, Connie Roy, president/CEO of the $112 million Lafayette Schools' FCU in Louisiana. Roy has also has taken part in executive committee deliberations, with plans to attend more meetings set for late November and into December."We just can't waste time," she emphasized, citing a need for a system solution being put in place soon.
Beside Parker and Roy, other CEOs or CU managers on the Southwest panel are Joyce Judy, Arkansas Employees FCU, Little Rock; Rodney Taylor, Barksdale FCU, Bossier, La.; David Preter, Georgia's Own CU, Atlanta; Brad Baker, GTE FCU, Tampa, Fla.; Ayn Talley, CEO, Houston Police FCU, Texas, and Rick Hein, OSU FCU, Corvallis, Ore. Also in the group are Randy Smith, Randolph-Brooks FCU, Universal City, Texas; Tim Adams, SPCO CU, Houston; Jeff Schwarz, St. Helena Community FCU in Oregon; Michael Kloiber, Tinker FCU, Oklahoma City and Willie Jacobs, White Sands, FCU, Las Cruces, N.M.
Texas CU leaders were hardly alone in joining panels pondering what to do about service options in the wake of corporate confusion. In Connecticut, home of the NCUA-conserved Constitution Corporate FCU, currently up for a potential NCUA merger with another corporate, more than 50 CU leaders signed up within days for a "review" panel set up by the Connecticut Credit Union League.
The "Corporate Service Replacement/Options Review Group," as the panel is known, was to meet next week to discuss directions and options for CUs grappling with the Constitution fallout. CUs in that state have also expressed worry about corporate services, since the $1.4 billion Constitution is subject to a purchase/assumption transaction under the Sept. 24 NCUA restructuring. Tony Emerson, president/CEO of the league, said Connecticut CUs are anxious to hear from NCUA on the agency's next move concerning Constitution, which was to be announced within 4-12 weeks of Sept. 24.
In an email bulletin last week, the league noted that it "has been working with all interested and involved parties, as well as performing due diligence in preparation for helping our credit unions through a smooth and appropriate solution."
"We have been in contact with credit union system providers and continue to await the NCUA's decision in regard to the P&A action at Constitution. There will be several viable options to review once a decision has been made," said the league.
In Iowa, where the National Co-operative Bank of Washington is planning to replace correspondent services offered by the $100 million Iowa Corporate Central CU, Iowa CUs were preparing for a series of town hall meetings to discuss the NCB plan.
Steve Brookner, president/CEO of NCB's savings bank subsidiary, NCB FSB, acknowledged that the co-op bank has been contacted by other unidentified CU groups about spreading the Iowa model elsewhere. "Other institutions have made preliminary inquiries as to our interest in becoming a service provider," he stated. "At this time, we are validating the operational details of our relationship with Iowa and are only focused on this particular correspondent banking relationship."
According to Brookner, though, NCB "is engaged in other initiatives within the credit union sector and is becoming more active in both the extension of credit and investment opportunities to credit unions and their affiliate organizations."
That would include new investment vehicles now available to CUs facilitating charitable donations made through the National Credit Union Foundation.
In stressing its CU links, NCB noted that it offers an array of product offerings at competitive rates. "In addition, 'CIFwithNCB' allows credit unions to donate 50%, 75% or 100% of the interest earned on the deposit to the designated funds, which is a unique feature."
"Originally, the product offerings were a 6-month, 12-month, 18-month CD and a MMDA," said NCB. "After the corporates announced they are no longer offering longer term CD's, NCB acted quickly and provided a two-year option for the Community Investment Fund."