Citing lobbying tactics, governance and other policy issues, the $1.6 billion Texas Dow Employees Credit Union has quit CUNA and the Texas Credit Union League.
In a letter to CUNA's leadership, the president/CEO of TDECU, Ed Speed, explained the CU's disaffiliation stemmed from differences on a variety of concerns, but card reform, bankruptcy, a lack of volunteer governance and small vs. large CUs were key areas.
In the two-page Jan. 27 letter, Speed listed reasons for leaving CUNA as vendor domination of association meetings "matched by a continuing decline in substantive educational content," divergence of interest between large and small credit unions, difference of opinion on legislative and regulatory advocacy issues, and continued alignment with for-profit financial services industry advocates on issues like bankruptcy and credit card reform.
Reacting to the disaffiliation, the chairman of CUNA, Harriet May, declined to discuss Speed's concerns but told Credit Union Times that she is "deeply disappointed" in the move because it underscores a measure of industry disunity.
"I learned about this 48 hours ago and is so unfortunate," said May, who also is president/CEO of GECU of El Paso. "There so many important issues for our industry that we need to be united."
Speed, she said, "has long been a strong and active supporter of the movement."
The president/CEO of the Texas Credit Union League, Richard Ensweiler, said late last week he "is in discussions with Ed about his decision and the impact on his credit union and the industry." Whether his decision might be reversed is something the two are discussing, said Ensweiler.
Ensweiler said he has known about the disaffiliation by the Lake Jackson CU for about two weeks, but he expressed surprise that Credit Union Times had a copy of the TDECU letter.
In the letter, Texas Dow officials also took issue with what they said was "an escalation of rhetoric directed at the NCUA over inconsequential issues." Just what issues was not spelled out and neither Speed nor Stephenson were not immediately available for comment.
The letter said, however, that the NCUA issues were leading "to no productive outcomes."
TDECU said its disaffiliation became effective at the end of last year and that it will not submit dues for 2011.
While there have been few high profile defections from CUNA in recent years, the last significant departure involved Navy Federal CU's resignation preceded years earlier by Pentagon FCU. At the same time, CUNA has maintained there have been noteworthy re-affiliations including some in Florida, other southern states and California.