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Mike Welch’s opinions stated in his April 17th column, “Recognize Any of These CU Board Members?” provided tinges of honesty combined with many misrepresentations. His column targeted directors seemingly to create separation and controversy that I find appalling. As a credit union director with well over 20 years of experience and a president/CEO of a manufacturing company, my viewpoints are based on facts and experiences, not sensationalism. In his column, Mike gave equal billing to each of eight categories, Givers, Takers, Zealots, Politicians, Power Brokers, Holier than Thou, Talkers, and the Jackass as he described directors. This forms a totally inaccurate perception. He ignored many thousands of strong, well educated, and dedicated professionals who support their credit unions by volunteering and by being elected. As I meet and interact with other directors, I find that 99% fall into this professional and dedicated category. Yes, we do have a few of the others and they are being weeded out. But percentages of directors who are doing less than their best are fewer than in any industry I have ever seen. I am extremely proud to be counted as a credit union board member. There are good, strong directors in all credit unions. These directors are striving to keep our businesses focused on serving our members, providing strong financial programs, and developing policies and directions so that our institutions will thrive for the next 25, 50, or 100 years. We have stability within our ranks, integrity with intention and deed, and recognize that differences of opinions between board members build strengths and character on our boards. What is amazing to me is that Mike seems not to recognize what a strong and professional asset these board members are, and how their direction has vastly helped spread our credit union message. I am concerned that columns like his support divisions and creates controversy between boards and credit union managers. When he describes board members as being less than professional, he is furthering the aims of an uninformed few who have a need to feel superior to all. Board members represent the interests of our owners, our credit union members. Many people forget that our job is to build for financial strength, service to our members, while positioning our industry for a strong future. I am concerned when I see this division promoted by people who, at a recent training program, issued name badges clearly identifying “Credit Union Professionals” and “Volunteers”. If Mike is among these who feel that a board member does not rank among “Credit Union Professionals”, he is mistaken. Having this identification reversed and referring to board members as “Credit Union Leaders” and to CEOs and management staff as “Employees” would be equally foolish. We want and need solidarity within our ranks. There are people who sit back and talk about items, saying that boards are too timid or too blind to fix these problems, however, they usually are basing their assessments on inaccurate and/or shortsighted data. Usually, they haven’t the slightest notion what our policy manuals contain nor what can legally be done in any situation. These critics strictly shoot from the hip hoping to hit an intended victim without judging for potential collateral damage. Effective, efficient board members have a better focus and we are all more professional as a result. I would hope that all board members will join me within our Credit Union Directors Association (www.cudirectors.org) to continue to improve our knowledge, develop and share accurate, unprejudiced information, and build educational programs that will cause our ranks to become even better. And, Mr. Welch, I recommend that you look for positives of board members (there are thousands) instead of singling out our group as your own, personal target. I remember a saying from my childhood that seems appropriate. It goes: There is so much bad in the best of us… There is so much good in the worst of us… It little behoves any of us… To speak ill of the rest of us… Andy Popenoe Chairman Credit Union Director’s Association Petaluma, Calif.

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