Navy Federal Credit Union President Brian McDonnell raises a number of points about the Renaissance Commission and its deliberations in an Aug. 22 article in Credit Union Times (“McDonnell blasts some Renaissance recommendations”). For the benefit of my colleagues and acquaintances in the credit union community, I would like to offer my own thoughts in the context of this article. As the president/CEO of a small credit union ($6.1 million in assets) and a member of the CUNA Renaissance Commission, I can quantitatively confirm that the commissioners were not only aware of the consequences of their deliberations and recommendations, but also heard the voice of “small credit unions” as they labored over the mountain of information they collected. I know they heard that voice – because that voice was mine. I appreciate the concern for small credit unions as expressed in the Aug. 22 article. There’s no doubt about it, it’s a daily struggle for a small credit union just to keep up with all of the competition out there. And there’s also no question that small credit unions have justifiable concerns about the growth of larger credit unions in their areas (with just four employees, my credit union staff is smaller than the executive staff of some larger credit unions). But I stand by the recommendations of the Renaissance Commission: The flexibility and choice at the heart of the recommendations will help credit unions of all sizes meet the changing needs of our members. Our job, as commissioners, was to “think outside of the box” for credit unions of all kinds – large and small, east and west, federal and state – and develop a vision of the future for credit unions. I can assure Credit Union Times readers that, as a representative of small credit unions, I spoke up firmly and resolutely on issues affect small credit unions. Why wouldn’t I? The future of my credit union and its members is on the line, too. As to the issue of how “aware” the commissioners were to the consequences of their actions, it’s a no brainer. First, the commission was broadly representative of credit unions – in geography, size, charter, memberships served, etc. Second, the commissioners weren’t exactly babes in the woods. During one of our meetings, we (as a group) performed an informal poll to see just how much credit union experience we had. The answer: More than 800 years. And that’s not just managing credit unions – that includes all of the political ups and downs, economic sweets and sours, and market roller-coaster rides that have occurred over the past several decades. In short, it was not only a group of people who were cognizant of the world around them, they had lived and breathed it all! In summary, the Renaisssance Commission was an effort by experienced, reasonable and thoughtful people to understand what it is credit unions are going to have to do to ensure their future. It’s true that the Commission’s work is not the last word in what is best for every credit union – but it’s the most comprehensive effort so far. I take pride in my work on the Renaissance Commission – and I stand by it. Cookie Yoder, CUDS President/CEO Pittsburgh Catholic FCU Pittsburgh, Pa.

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