BURLINGTON, Vt.-Looking to add new revenue for next year to pay for added services, the Vermont Credit Union League this month is holding membership meetings to consider a dues increase for 2003. "This is the first time the League has asked for such an increase in 10 years, and it reflects the increased cost of doing business today," explained League Chairman John Benoit, who also is president/CEO of the $87 million North Country Federal Credit Union here. Membership meetings to discuss the possible dues hike were held in Barre, with two more slated last week in Rutland and S. Burlington. A vote by the League Board on any dues proposal could come at a November meeting. Under one dues formula being discussed, said Benoit, caps would be removed on certain asset or member tiers with the overall payment structure simplified as a means of bringing in the increased revenue. Benoit said a dues hike of 25-30% may become necessary although that issue would be reviewed at the membership meetings. The dues proposal comes as Vermont, like many states, has witnessed an erosion in dues as a source of revenue while mergers among credit unions continue to increase. Vermont has dropped from 70 CUs in the 1980′s to 39 today, said Benoit. The League noted that information on the dues proposals was mailed in August to CEOs and chairpersons of all Vermont CUs, and the material "included an overview of the shortcomings of the current dues formula." It also contained a study by CUNA's Economics and Research department on dues plus "a personalized history of dues and growth for each member credit union over the years." Benoit said the League Board has no plans in the offing to pursue a consolidation or affiliation with other New England CU Leagues similar to arrangements set up years ago between Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire in which the Mass League operates services of those Leagues under management pacts. Colorado retains a similar management pact with Wyoming. "We've been quite satisfied with our approach and I think we'd like to remain independent," said Benoit, though he said the idea has been discussed from time to time "as we look into the future." A spokesman for the Massachusetts League said it maintains a good working relationship with the Vermont League but there has been no recent discussions of consolidations or a management contract comparable to 1984 agreements with New Hampshire and Rhode Island. -


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