By Jim Rubenstein
Claiming conclusions are sharply “flawed,” CUNA took issue Wednesday with a new study by Celent, a Boston financial research and consulting firm, finding that very small CUs are at the brink of wholesale extinction and are “overwhelmed” by economic conditions.
“Conclusions in the report do not square with what is actually taking place,” charged Mike Schenk, CUNA’s senior economist.
Specifically, Schenk argued that stats in the report along with claims that small CUs are “disappearing” fast because of an inability to handle mobile banking, consumer services and branch capture among other services are simply untrue.
Schenk also claimed the report contains a series of “myths” about CU inefficiencies in the smaller CU under $50 million in assets.
The report titled “Tipping Scale: Credit Union Consolidation” and based on 2010 NCUA data, “really generates more heat than light because it lacks any context without exploring the successes made by small credit unions,” said Schenk, who serves as CUNA’s vice president of economics and statistics.
Schenk also argued the 24-page study unfairly finds small CUs operate inefficiently under ratio stats when facts show otherwise.
The Celent study claimed that in the past CUs “simply required a branch or two, a core banking system and ATMs but in the past 10 years “internet banking, bill pay, know your customers and office of foreign assets control compliance” have all altered the environment.
Schenk said faulty studies by Celent and others “do come up from time to time” but this is the first one of this kind focusing strictly on small CUs.
Celent, which previously did two other CU-related studies on “core processing” has said it hopes to offer the study to CUs nationwide.
Without commenting on the actual Celent conclusions, NAFCU said it has long been concerned about the progress of small CUs and recently focused new attention on their plight at its San Francisco convention two weeks ago.