Members Not Abandoning Corporate America Post Bonds
Members and a merger partner aren’t running for the exits at Corporate America Credit Union following last week’s announcement that CEO Thomas Bonds had resigned from the $3.3 billion corporate.
However, some expressed disappointment and concern that the maverick and charismatic leader is no longer associated with the Irondale, Ala.-based institution.
Steve Swofford, president/CEO of the $515 million Alabama Credit Union, said he’s disappointed that Bonds resigned, because he credits him with Corporate America’s success during the corporate crisis.
Corporate America was one of a few corporates that did not write off member-contributed capital after U.S. Central Federal Credit Union failed in 2009.
The Tuscaloosa-based ACU isn’t shopping for a new corporate, nor is Swofford presently concerned about the future of Corporate America thanks to its strong capital and client base.
“My perspective is, I won’t become concerned now, but the future will depend upon who they select as a successor and his or her qualifications,” he said.
Swofford said he’s spoken to Interim CEO Dan Buckley twice, but said he doesn’t know him well enough to judge whether or not he’d be a good permanent replacement.
“I know he came to Corporate America with many years of experience at the NCUA, working with corporates, so I would assume that he knows the mechanics of a corporate, how they operate and that sort of thing,” Swofford said.
Alabama CU invested capital in Corporate America, but President/CEO Robert Einstein of the $140 million UMe FCU moved his business from the now-shuttered Western Corporate Federal Credit Union to CACU because of Bonds’ strategy of not requiring capital from new members.
Einstein said he’s a little concerned about Bonds’ departure, and said he will keep his eye on the corporate and any strategic changes that might occur as a result. However, he added that the service he’s received has been “excellent” and UMe does not anticipating leaving Corporate America “at the moment.”
Corporate America and the $218 million Louisiana Corporate Credit Union first announced the intent to merge in January 2011, but have been waiting for nearly a year to gain approval from the NCUA. Both the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions and the Alabama Credit Union Administration approved the plan.
LaCorp President/CEO David Savoie said Bonds’ resignation will not impact the merger.
“Thomas was, in many ways, an exceptionally talented CEO, and as such, he left an organization that does not depend on any one person for the continuity of its operations,” Savoie said. “Further, I worked closely with Dan Buckley for several years at NCUA, and I know he is very capable of continuing to successfully manage Corporate America as its interim CEO.”
Bonds left Corporate America after taking a leave of absence from the credit union in April. He said in a release that he will continue to serve credit unions with brokerage services; however, he did not say if he would sell investments for Corporate Financial Solutions, CACU’s investment CUSO.
Bonds told Credit Union Times he would not comment on his resignation or future plans.
Bonds is registered as a broker with the Milwaukee-based Quasar Distributors LLC, a division of U.S. Bancorp. Quasar is the distributor of Corporate America’s CU Short Duration Fund, with U.S. Bancorp serving as the fund administrator, and CFS as the fund’s investment adviser.