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I just finished reading Brian McDonnell’s comments on some of the Renaissance Commission recommendations (CU Times, August 22). I respect Brian for his candor. As CEO of a somewhat smaller credit union, I have a few candid comments too. It seemed odd from the beginning that this whole parade of meetings was even necessary. Renaissance means revival or rebirth. When did credit unions die or fall ill? By any measurable statistic, credit unions thrived since the mid-1980′s to present. Or, was RenComm not about credit unions, but yet another example of a trade association “tail” wagging the industry “dog”. Reminds me of the ABA and its fixation on CU taxation while a majority of ABA members are not overly concerned about it. I was not surprised at the Commissions’ claim that credit unions can declare victory in its goal of serving persons of modest means. As is often the case, from the minds of self-appointed important people comes equally self-serving conclusions. In reality, the credit union industry should be embarrassed by the proliferation of payday loan companies and check cashing operations. And, who among us has not had a member pay 5 points on an equity loan from a hard-money lender? These consumer rip-off artists are thriving at the expense of our members. The time, energy and money spent on the Renaissance Commission could have been invested in educating credit union staffs and members about basic consumer finance. Instead, we flaunt our economic success by flying CEOs around the country to meetings that usually add minimal value. Congress granted credit unions tax-exemption to allow accumulation of sufficient resources so that CUs could serve our members. Credit union professionals dishonor the tax-exemption every time we waste these resources. The final chapter of the Commission is yet to be written. If the Renewal Project is an indicator, one of our industry leaders will come away with a coveted CUNA Mutual Board seat, which at last check paid in the range of $50,000/year plus pension. And, credit unions will still face enough perceived crises so within a couple years we’ll do it all over again. Dale Kerslake President/CEO Cascade FCU Kent, Wash.

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