The Matz-Blaine tense exchange at the NASCUS Summit wastes valuable time and energy that should be better used to address real problems facing fellow citizens. (“Matz Announces Low-Income Initiative,” Sept. 12 issue, page 10.)
I see both sides and conclude that both have some degree of right, but both are wrong. The time wasted posturing leaves a real critical problem unaddressed.
SECU is probably one of the most effective credit unions in the world. The reason State Employees’ Credit Union of North Carolina is the second largest credit union in the world is due to management’s relentless pursuit of excellence in the delivery of value-based financial services to their members.
The problem seems to come about because of a regulatory reaction to a perceived affront by the publication of the SECU’s assigned CAMEL code after the NCUA advised that publication was a violation of federal regulations.
As with most things in life, we pick on other issues and fail to address the real root problems. SECU runs a bare bones capital structure. In another time, this was to be celebrated. SECU also provides alternative products that are difficult to evaluate risk but are a great benefit to members, which is another thing to celebrate. If the capital structure were stronger and the CEO a little more angelic in his response to the regulators, this issue would have been sweep under the rug and never made the press.
I suggest that SECU could reach out and raise loan rates, reduce dividends and charge a fee. This would raise capital and may provide the regulator with some comfort.
The NCUA’s response to the CAMEL code disclosure could have been more measured. The most important thing that a regulator can do is to identify a problem and get agreement among the parties about the problem and obtain an agreement to correct the problem.
Chairman Matz’s refusal to discuss important issues is just bad form. NCUA employees are civil servants. There is nothing civil or serving about this posture.
The adults in the industry have to stand up to both parties because this debate is a destructive time consuming waste. All combatants need to lay down their arms and address real a problem facing the country.
It has been reported that 28% of the population are either unbanked or under banked. This percentage is rising. While we fuss about trivia, new check cashing stores are growing like weeds in a garden. Certainly, time spent at a summit should not be wasted fiddling around posturing about perceived affronts. With so much need, it is wrong to fight over who is right.
Certified Financial Planner
Rehoboth Beach, Del.