First let me say I am so glad the Renaissance Commission has stirred up so much discussion. However, there are some real misunderstandings. One of those is that the issues of small credit unions were not taken into consideration. There were several representatives of small credit unions on the commission, including me, the CEO of a $7.5 million credit union at the time. More importantly, there was not a person on the commission that didn’t, at some time or other, bring up the issues of small credit unions throughout the process. There was not a time when small credit unions were not considered in any of this process. We were well represented, believe me. I had some pretty strong opinions and concerns about how small credit unions would react to some of the issues that came out of the Commission’s findings, and was frankly surprised that small credit unions seem to understand that the future may be quite different for all credit unions, not just the small ones. Mind you, the findings were based on input from the industry and the whole industry was invited, no, urged to participate. I would like to assure everyone that in the process of gathering the information, everyone’s input was accepted, reviewed, compiled, considered, and submitted. The Renaissance Commission may have prioritized some of the issues, but we did that because the credit unions we talked to created the emphasis themselves. If everyone’s input wasn’t received, it isn’t the fault of the Renaissance Commission or of CUNA. There were many opportunities at meetings locally and nationally for people to participate. CUNA’s Web site had a section dedicated to receiving input. People could have written letters to any of the Commissioners, etc. No, this was a very good process, and it was very accessible to everyone. There are always those who don’t participate by choice, and then tear apart what was done by those who made their best effort to participate. The Commission worked hard to make sure all views were heard. The hard part now is for the CUNA Board to decide what next needs to be done and how to go about doing it. I am hoping that rather than threatening to pick up your money and pull out of CUNA if your opinions aren’t adhered to, that people will jump into the process and talk to the CUNA Board. Offer to work with the CUNA Board to make sure your beliefs and fears are heard and understood. Don’t use the press to air your differences. Go to the people who can do something about making sure your concerns are met – the CUNA Board. And for sure, don’t bail out of the process and let someone else decide for you what is going to happen to your credit union’s future. I firmly believe it is absolutely the right time for credit unions to set our own agenda. If others decide to take exception to what we are doing, so be it. At least we are working proactively in our members’ and future members’ best interests. Thanks for the opportunity to put my two cents in. Pat Wagner, ex Renaissance Commissioner President/CEO New World FCU Lafayette, Calif.
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