On the front page of the April 6, 2011 edition of Credit Union Times was an article entitled “Historic Development Stains CU's Balance Sheet.” My name is Ben Heyward and I was president /CEO of First Financial Credit Union in Albuquerque, N.M., at the time of publication. I was the target of this article that started with an accusation about a loan known as “Copper Square” but escalated into many more untrue statements.
In March 2012 I filed a defamation lawsuit against CU Times because I knew that the statements presented as facts were incorrect and had no basis of truth. As the article unfolds its content describes the characterizing of a “pattern of reckless lending,” the mistreatment of executives and my alleged style “to make unilateral decisions,” among others. These characterizations allegedly came from unnamed “critics.” However none of these characterizations stated as fact could be corroborated.
One of the most troubling omissions of this article was an absence of any effort to reveal how business loans were originated and who was responsible for originating them. In fact, a disgruntled executive, who was one of the unnamed critics, was involved in originating business loans, including the Copper Square loan.
I could go on with a great deal more about all the erroneous information stated in this article but I will cut it short by stating that I categorically deny the allegations made. CU Times and I have recently settled the case out-of-court.
I find it sad that the lack of due diligence to verify the allegations made by unnamed critics printed in this article will likely shake the confidence of CU Times’ readers.
First Financial Credit Union