Coverage in Credit Union Times of recent comments made by various individuals about the CUNA Renaissance Commission and its recommendations prompts me to share my views (especially story entitled "McDonnell blasts some Renaissance recommendations," CU Times, Aug. 22). The commission's efforts seem to have been comprehensive, inclusive, deliberate, and thoughtful. How can credit unions expect to move forward through a process that is any less than that carved out by the Renaissance Commission? How can credit unions even define their own future unless they hold a thoughtful discussion about what it is they want to be? I suppose there are some that would have credit unions sit still and do nothing about planning for the new century before them. This inaction would be justified out of a concern of sending the wrong signals to Congress or the public, or raising the ire of bankers (in that bankers would have "added weapons against credit unions," to coin a phrase). Anybody that buys either justification has his or her head in the sand. Let me provide an example: Recently, at a conference, I had a discussion with the incoming president of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), a bankers' trade group that has been particularly vocal in its criticism of credit unions. I felt we could have a reasonable discussion about issues facing our respective institutions, without slipping into the "bank vs. credit union" thing. How wrong I was, the conversation (unfortunately) quickly deteriorated into his accusations about how "credit unions were meant to serve only people of modest means." I need not continue nor detail the rest of the conversation-it was the same, tired story that bankers and their trade associations drag out every time they talk about credit unions. My point: Whether or not the CUNA Renaissance Commission is recommending change for the better future of credit unions, bankers will always look for "weapons" to use against credit unions, regardless of what we do. Our forefathers brought the concept of credit unions with them to this country, where it flourished in an atmosphere of freedom and self-determination. I absolutely agree that credit unions must remain true to their philosophy that has served them so well. Our freedom to modernize the credit union community should not be infringed upon by those who would rather sit still, or fear the response of for-profit financial institutions. The Renaissance Commission seems to me to be an honest effort, by thoughtful and reasonable people, to move the credit union community forward. Let's give it a chance. Roger E. Hake President Nebraska Energy FCU Columbus, Neb.

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