The group of Occupy activists in Vermont, one of which has the rare distinction of holding a seat on the board of the $345 million Vermont Federal Credit Union, is discovering a cooperative spirit with credit union management as negotiations progress on solving a branding and online dispute.
Matt Cropp, one of the Occupy representatives praised participation by Vermont Federal’s Lori Crawley, vice president of marketing, at a meeting last Monday of the ad hoc Vermont Federal Credit Union Members Assembly. Cropp was an an unsuccessful candidate in a contested June 7 director election at Vermont Federal’s annual meeting in Burlington. The name of that 30-member Assembly group as well as concerns by Vermont Federal’s CEO Bernie Isabelle over Facebook postings and links over Occupy picketing at a Burlington bank have been the source of the dispute.
The current wrangle follows the unexpected June 7 election of Eric Davis of Occupy Burlington to the Vermont Federal board which appeared to catch the Vermont Federal management off guard and involved discussions with NCUA attorneys about election procedures.
“We had invited Lori to come to our meeting so we could discuss some of our differences and she explained the credit union position on one of the online photographs we had posted and we agreed to change it,” said Cropp.
Still to be settled is dropping of the “Vermont Federal Member” wording in the name of the Assembly since the credit union has sought to distance itself from the organization which has been meeting for weeks to plot its campaign to win a seat on the Vermont Federal board and move more local funds from banks into credit unions.
With just eight members of the Assembly participating on Monday, the group urged Eric Davis to continue more talks with Isabelle and members of Vermont Federal management to come up with a compromise moniker and to make recommendations on the credit union’s charitable practices, said Cropp
In his remarks to the group, Davis stressed that he is bound by the credit union’s confidentiality policies but that he has been ”treated with respect,” according to Assembly minutes.
Regarding retention of Vermont Federal in the Assembly name, Cropp said Davis “intends to approach the Vermont Federal management for more details because we do understand they have valid concerns and our intent is not to hurt them,” said Cropp.