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MADISON, Wis. – After 45 years in the credit union movement, don’t even entertain the thought of Chuck Seibold settling in and sitting back on his far-reaching contributions – he’s too busy working with a large credit union on the legalities involved in selling credit card portfolios just as he closely consults with a vendor on the securitization of auto lending for sub-prime members. Seibold, 77, is widely credited with using his legal acumen to foresee that the future growth, indeed the survival of credit unions, depended on them broadening their service offerings by giving members convenient, remote access to their funds. His entry into the movement started in 1957 when his law firm began representing CUNA. In 1968, CUNA sought the certified public accountant and lawyer’s expertise in creating two pioneering systems that unknowingly would change the scope of how credit unions operate to this day – the creation of a pool of government securities so that credit unions could invest overnight, and an efficient share draft system that did away with paper transactions and a clunky network. “We decided early on we wanted to move far ahead with the most efficient and futuristic system available.” Seibold recalled. “It took a great deal of ingenuity to get it going but within two years 11,000 credit unions had signed, on to the new system.” Today, the 77-year old is a partner at DeWitt Ross and Stevens in Madison, Wis., a position he’s held since 1995. Seibold actually started at an earlier version of the firm – Bell, Misner and Seibold in 1950 and worked there for 30 years. He later became senior partner under Ross and Stevens. In 1995, Ross and Stevens merged with DeWitt Porter and is now known as DeWitt Ross and Stevens. At the firm, Seibold specializes in complex financial systems, innovative financial services, and the public and private financing of business projects. Most recently, he assisted a credit union in creating a $200 million securities lending system and worked with Western Corporate Federal Credit Union in 1997 in its $175 million offering of capital notes. He’s currently helping a large credit union with legal issues involving the purchase and selling of credit card portfolios. Over a three-month period, Seibold also closely researched the legal ramifications of Georgia Central Credit Union now defunct merger with Southwest Corporate Credit Union. In 2000, he provided legal advice to Southern New England Federal Credit Union for the establishment of a state university card used by employees, students and staff at the University of Southern New England. Seibold worked closely with NCUA officials to get the credit union’s field of membership expanded to include the university. In spite of his busy schedule, Seibold also continues to serve as the chairperson of the Electronic Transactions Subcommittee of the Committee on Credit Unions of the business law section of the American Bar Association, a post he’s held since 1978. The 20-person committee meets three times a year including a session at this year’s GAC where timely topics such as electronic data storage, U.S. Patriot Act compliance and sub-prime lending will be on the agenda. The late 1960s and early 1970s saw Seibold’s pioneering expertise with electronic transactions during a time when credit unions and other financial institutions were skeptical of such cutting edge services as seamless truncations. “To put Chuck’s work in perspective, it’s necessary to recall that credit unions lacked the legal ability to offer expanded services,” said Ralph Swoboda, former CUNA president and current vice president of international development at CUNA Mutual Group. A new law school graduate, Swoboda met Seibold more than 30 years ago when he worked at the same firm CUNA retained to do research work on share drafts. “Chuck’s genius lay in his ability to develop innovative legal strategies to bring traditional banking services to credit unions and then persuade regulatory agencies to authorize them,” Swoboda explained. In 1968, a CUNA planning committee identified the need for the creation of a mechanism to bring an innovative payment system and investment and liquidity management facilities to credit unions. The report lead to the creation of ICU Services Corp. and the launch of its crucial industry programs – the ICU government lending securities program and the ICU interlending and commercial paper program. Seibold was instrumental in the creation of both systems, developing the legal foundation for a trust, where for the first time, credit unions had access to a convenient and safe way to invest their overnight liquidity and an even more effective means to lend excess funds on a longer term basis to other credit unions needing liquidity. By far, the most important project bearing Seibold’s stamp was the creation of the share draft program in 1974 through ICU. He worked out the legal parameters of the payable-through truncated draft, which allowed credit unions to offer a check-like service despite their legal restrictions of being able to directly access the clearing system. He also managed to convince NCUA officials and state authorities to set up the draft program and then allowed for its successful defense against bankers, who cried foul over the new innovation in the court system. Share drafts, more than any other service, would fuel the explosive growth of credit unions over the next two decades. By the time Congress gave credit unions entry to the payment systems in 1980, millions of members were enjoying the convenient access to their accounts that would lead them to consider the institutions as their primary financial outlet. ICU’s programs eventually led to the creation of the corporate credit union network with revenue helping to operate U.S. Central Credit Union in its early years. Indeed, getting ICU’s programs off the ground required convincing NCUA, the SEC, the Comptroller of the Currency, the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Reserve to all coordinate their efforts and agree on the regulatory waivers to move forward. Robert Fenner, NCUA general counsel, has known Seibold for nearly 30 years and considers him the go-to person when the time comes to offer explanations in layman’s terms. “He’s one of the most capable lawyers I know and he has the ability to explain things in a way so that all of us can understand,” Fenner said. “Being the primary legal architect of the share draft fund put him in a unique position to convince skeptics – a feat he successfully followed through with.” Much of Seibold’s tenacity can easily be traced back to his Army service during World War II as a combat infantry solider. As a part of the 422nd Regiment of the 106th Infantry Division, he was captured by the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge on Dec. 16, 1944. For five months, his division remained prisoners of war. Back home, his parents were devastated when they read in the local Madison newspaper that their son’s division “had been virtually wiped out.” In January 1945, Seibold’s parents also received the “dreaded telegram” from the adjutant general that he had been missing in action for several months. Fortunately, that April, Seibold would finally get personal word back to the States that he was alive and eventually made it back home on May 26, 1945, earning a purple heart for an injury sustained while a POW. In another near-death experience, Seibold, a licensed pilot with multi-engine and instrument ratings since 1960, was invited by the late CUNA CEO Herb Wegner to fly to the association’s GAC in 1973. Wegner owned a Piper Navaho airplane and would be co-piloting the flight along with Seibold, transporting five staffers to the annual conference. The group left Madison in the afternoon with the prediction of a 1,000-feet ceiling but when they arrived in Washington, the pilots were informed that the ceiling had dropped 200 feet below the landing minimum. The runaway was not visible, so clearance was made for the airplane to land in nearby Norfolk, Va. Seibold calculated that they would not have enough fuel to make it there and sought and received clearance to land at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, home to the President’s Air Force One. The air traffic controllers had to conduct a ground controlled approach because the ceiling there was literally zero, Seibold recalled. To make matters worse, Wegner’s instruments had failed and the left engine ceased functioning forcing Seibold to fly solo for an agonizing eight miles. He managed to land the nerve-wracked plane safely. “Needless to say, that experience confirms that in a time of uncertainty, it just doesn’t help to panic, you’re better off keeping a level head,” Seibold said. Married to Roberta for 55 years, father of four sons and having four grandchildren, Seibold is an avid computer buff and thrives on staying active. “I’m most happiest when I’m working,” Seibold said. “I have no plans to stop because if I did, I wouldn’t be happy.” His latest project? He’s working with three mid-size credit unions to pilot a loan/loss insurance program that will provide auto loans to sub-prime members. The program is scheduled to roll out in the fall. “He’s been a mentor to many of us younger lawyers, always had an open ear and an open door,” said Richard Kessler, counsel for the Georgia Credit Union Affiliates and a lawyer in private practice. “He’s a very bright scholar and lawyer who speaks from the heart and always thought of new ways to enhance products and advance the movement since the 1960s.” Chuck Seibold can be reached at (608) 283-5603 or (608) 233-6554 or emailed at [email protected] or [email protected] -

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