As I find Mike Welch’s weekly columns to be insightful and thought-provoking, it’s rare that I feel compelled to clarify or expand on his comments. However, his column of Sept. 19 (“There are different ways to define membership,” pg. 10), while making a number of commendable points about how CUNA serves and interacts with its credit union and league membership, may lead your readers to believe CUNA’s membership policy is somehow working against the association’s efforts to promote unity within the credit union community. Permit me to clarify. Mike’s closing paragraph states: “If CUNA ever hopes to achieve 100 percent credit union membership, they and the leagues need to re-examine some current policies that prevent that from happening, policies that actually discourage potential members (non-affiliates) from becoming full-fledged members of CUNA.” Firstly, we realize that while a 100 percent membership rate may be laudable, it’s hardly realistic. As a former trade association leader, Mike himself knows that the highest realistic membership rate most can hope for is more like 90 percent. Secondly, upon reviewing our most recent membership statistics (August 2001), I have found that CUNA counts 90.2 percent of all U.S. credit unions as members. Those credit unions themselves hold 92.3 percent of all credit union members, and 92.4 percent of all credit union assets. These facts lead me, for one, to only conclude that CUNA’s policies are not in any way discouraging potential members from joining. On the contrary, the vast majority of credit unions seem to be reassured of the value and strength that the three tiers of our community-credit unions, leagues and CUNA – bring to their organizations. That is precisely what the Renewal process was meant to achieve and, from my point of view, the achievement is being attained. In summary, the evidence I see is that credit unions are encouraged by CUNA policies and practices, and recognize that supporting their league and CUNA promotes a unified and strong credit union community. Dan Mica President/CEO CUNA & Affiliates Madison,Wis.

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