Here’s something for credit unions to think about while they read the continuing coverage about the losses suffered by consumers from corporate crime. If investors were to sue to recoup losses to their portfolios, it is unlikely that they would recover very much as a result of the $1.4 billion settlement between U.S. securities regulators and the Wall Street investment banks. The settlement amount is a drop in the bucket compared to the annual revenues of these banks, and miniscule compared to the revenues these banks generated during the stock market boom. American consumers are outraged by the frauds these banks perpetrated. The fraudulent activities damaged or destroyed retirement accounts, along with thousands of jobs. Consumers may feel powerless in the face of such corporate wrongdoing, but they can show how they feel about organizations that take advantage of the public-by canceling their Citibank and Chase credit cards, and moving their accounts to credit unions. United States credit unions are non-profit, member-owned financial cooperatives, and they played no role in these conflict-of-interest scandals. By voting with their pocketbooks, consumers can punish corporate crime. More importantly, if enough consumers move their business away from those who abuse the public trust, consumers will be helping to deter future financial crime. This gives new meaning to the term “capital punishment.” Henry W. Wirz President and CEO SAFE Credit Union North Highlands, California

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