OSCUI Relevant, Serves the Greater Good
I am amazed that a distinguished professional credit union executive such as Stuart Perlitsh, CEO at Glendale Area Schools Federal Credit Union, in his April 16, 2014, article in CU Times shows that he truly does not understand the Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives’ purpose, objective or mission.
Surely, one would understand that some small credit unions, by NCUA definition, require developmental assistance in order to gain the asset level of Mr. Perlitsh's $334 million credit union. I am sure that larger credit unions were at one time in their life cycle small, potentially with developmental needs as well.
To that end, Mr. Perlitsh's suggestion that the efforts and work administered by the OSCUI and in particular that its budget requires “top-talent examiners to review these programs, issue a jolly DOR or impose a LUA while insisting they cut expenses in order to improve what is not working” suggests that other credit union dues-paying, card-carrying members of the NCUA share his misguided view of the OSCUI (and that is not true).
As a small credit union in South Texas that experienced “a jolly DOR” and an “imposed LUA” during my start of management oversight of credit union operations in 1998, I must state that if it were not for the economic development specialist from the OSCUI we very well might be part of the declining numbers that Mr. Perlitsh noted.
Also, if it were not for grants, which have assisted our credit union with the development of our VITA program and helped local college students obtain a student internship, giving each the opportunity to learn about credit unions and gain experience in their chosen field of study as well as a possible career choice; or if it were not for the approval and allocation of a Community Development Revolving Loan that consummated the purchase and subsequent relocation of our credit union's operations to a more meaningful location for improved member service; in my opinion our credit union could have been merged. That would have provided the lift referenced by Mr. Perlitsh's billion-dollar credit unions without his suggested acquisition fee.
What a disservice (to all credit unions) by highlighting Mr. Perlitsh's article that sheds a negative light on all the good work that the OSCUI has done over the years to assist the credit union industry (net worth restoration plans, new charter assistance and CDFI certification, to name a few).
Now I am not saying that some small credit union managers and/or boards of directors are not to blame for giving up on their credit union legacy or losing strategic focus of their credit unions, causing the negative slope. But do not use the broad stroke of the proverbial paint brush to opine that the OSCUI is spending too much on that downward slope. Imagine that more decision-makers thought like Mr. Perlitsh. Would only the large credit unions survive?
What would “Not for Profit, Not for Charity, But for Service” look like? Would our credit union movement stop growing, since in order to be a large credit union one must first be born and be small? With small credit unions holding steady at better than 88% of total credit union assets, the question asked would be, “Will service to rural, low-income areas and SEGs cease?”
We are not alone in needing OSCUI help to continue for the greater good of our movement and those we serve. While it may have been Mr. Perlitsh's premise to slam the OSCUI budget and get the NCUA to think about charging an acquisition fee, please know and understand that the OSCUI is relevant and its budget well-utilized for the greater good.
Armando A. Martinez
Kingsville Community FCU