Fiery Debate Continues on NCUA Online Petition
The harsh rhetoric generated from an online debate sparked by a Michigan CUSO accusing NCUA and major trade groups of being grossly out of touch with the industry's situation continued Wednesday.
At the center of the controversy which began brewing over the Christmas holiday and pushed by the CEO of Grand Rapids-based CU*Answers warning of industry demise or stagnation if internal NCUA polices are not quickly changed, is a petition listing five key areas needing immediate reform.
So far the petition, circulated within CUNA/NAFCU and among the CUSO leadership over the past week, has drawn some 98 listings including CEOs of both big and small CUs. Of the 98, 40 are anonymous.
Weighing in Monday in vigorous opposition to the "extreme" petition was the California/Nevada Credit Union League, which warned against CUs taking part in a campaign which it said will prove exceedingly harmful to the industry cause on any number of fronts before Congress, the Federal Reserve and government agencies.
The league said that "although the petition's organizers may have good intentions and the effort is admirable," CEOs should not sign the document, which it said will lead to unintended consequences and make the CU landscape "harder to stand on," including potential loss of an independent regulator.
Included among reforms sought by CU*Answers and its president/CEO, Randy Karnes, are splitting the NCUSIF from NCUA, greater Congressional scrutiny over NCUA budget policies, and establishing new rules for NCUA Board members that would require at least two of them to be removed from office.
CEO signers of the petition, both in Michigan and elsewhere, have applauded Karnes for his daring and outspokenness, calling the petition and the ensuing discussion "refreshing, important and urgently needed."
"I see no reason in the world we should not be having this open minded dialogue within our trade organizations," said Peter Muise, president/CEO of the $513 million First Citizens' CU of Fairhaven, Mass.
And in another online posting, which like a few others have come down on "soft" trade group policies in handling NCUA actions and the corporate crisis, Dennis Moriarity, CEO of the $39 million Unity CU of Warren, Mich., accused CUNA and the leagues of "failing miserably in paying attention to the toxic environment that CU's are operating in" and acting while the "NCUA travesty" continues amidst "the thousands of corpses of credit unions left in the dust during your tenures."
But Diana Dykstra, president/CEO of the California/Nevada League, in her message warned Karnes' petition would lead only to unhealthy industry dissension creating "perceived strife" with NCUA.