The disaffiliation headache continued for CUNA this month with two large Albuquerque credit unions departing from the trade group and the Credit Union Association of New Mexico.
Resigning from the trade groups in a dispute apparently traced, in part, to policies over business lending and secondary capital are the $1 billion New Mexico Educators Credit Union and the $570 million Kirtland Federal Credit Union.
CUNA leaders vowed to press ahead with campaigns to convince leadership of both CUs to reverse their disaffiliations, resume their memberships and pay their 2011 dues.
Leaders of New Mexico league expressed dismay, frustration and puzzlement at the decision. They called the disaffiliations a blow to industry unity, but said they would not interfere with day-to-day business or lobbying operations.
Mark Wolff, senior vice president of communications for CUNA, said it would seek also to reaffiliate the two New Mexico CUs with the goal of addressing their concerns.
Sylvia Lyon, president/CEO of the New Mexico league, said the president/CEO of Educators CU, Terry Laudick, had sent her a terse, two-sentence e-mail three weeks ago citing economic reasons.
"I’ve yet to get a response," said Lyon, expressing regret at the move. Laudick did not return phone calls, and David Seely, president/CEO of Kirtland, told Credit Union Times he would have no comment.
The chairman of the state league, William Jacobs, who is also president/CEO of White Sands FCU of Las Cruces, said he was dumbfounded. "It’s simply crazy when you consider the fast-moving events we are dealing with in Washington," said Jacobs. "I just don’t understand the logic."
The leadership of Kirtland, including Seely and its chairman, have previously voiced complaints on a number of topics relating to CUNA’s stance on member business lending and alternative capital, said Lyon. "We understand the concerns some credit unions have about costs associated with trade membership but still there’s never been a time when cooperation and a united industry is more important."
In a letter sent two weeks ago to the league membership, Jacobs said the departures, while troubling, would not affect the ongoing business and lobbying operations in Santa Fe or Washington.
"Credit unions have always had a very strong voice in Washington and Santa Fe because of the sheer numbers we represent," wrote Jacobs, "because we all are on board with a common cause."
Jacobs said he had no knowledge of whether the disaffiliations of the two Albuquerque CUs were related to the departure in January of the $1.6 billion Texas Dow Employees CU of Lake Jackson from CUNA and the Texas Credit Union League. The Texas Dow management cited a list of complaints over lobbying, volunteer and policy concerns it had with CUNA. Efforts have continued since then to bring Texas Dow back as a member.