Bonds Insists on Member Protection
- In nominating their boss, Bonds' staff cited his sound leadership and dedication to members.
- Bonds will likely be remembered within the industry as being among the first to refuse to voluntarily pump additional capital into U.S. Central.
- ‘It is not a fluke that member credit unions of Corporate America did not suffer a loss during the recent demise of U.S. Central,’ said one CEO.
When one of Thomas Bonds’ staffers recently pulled him aside with a grim expression on her face and said that he was needed in another part of the building, the mind of the president/CEO of Corporate America Credit Union started to race.
With the backing of Corporate America’s board, Bonds also asked the NCUA that the corporate be allowed, in the form of a capital plan, to pay as much of its member credit unions' assessments as its retained earnings would permit–moves that occurred before the NCUA required Corporate America to write off its capital investment in U.S. Central.
"When all of this began to unfold, I believed we were misled," Bonds said. "And, I was angry about that on behalf of our members. [U.S. Central] was taking a position of telling us ‘you must do this or you won’t have access to our services.’ They had sent me a member expulsion policy. Obviously, we had an option to say no. We had to evaluate the cost of saying no and what would put our members at risk."
In August 2010, Corporate America marked a milestone with the self-liquidation of its legacy assets, a move about which Bonds said, "Of all things I’ve tried to do, [it’s] the thing of which I may be the most proud." Compared to its peers the amount was small, but Bonds was able to guide and carry out what some said could not be done and continue on a path to profitability. He applauds NCUA on how the regulator handled acquisition of liquid assets.
Many of Bonds’ colleagues agree that he has the ability to tackle a problem from several different angles, including perhaps those that may not be mainstream or popular. That panoramic perspective might stem from Bonds’ foothold in the credit union industry. He is also a certified public accountant and an attorney.