As the former SVP of United Airlines Employees Credit Union, the credit union that was responsible for the transfer of Hertz and Westin members, I felt the need to respond to Mike Welch’s comments, in his column “All Eggs in One Basket Makes No Sense” (CU Times, May 21, 2003). It was a board decision to divest members once their organizations were no longer part of the United family. That decision was appropriately supported by management. But those members were not told, “to take the next flight out,” but rather great care was given to place the groups with credit unions that we judged were best able to handle their needs. Westin members were transferred to Alaska USA FCU and Hertz members to First Community CU in Missouri. Their membership was maintained by United until the transfers of all data, financial records, and funds were seamlessly made. Care for and service of the member was the overriding tenet during this process. In regards to single sponsor credit unions, yes, former United Airlines Employees CU President Gene Artemenko was often heard to say that if United Airlines shut down, the credit union would as well. After all, the credit union had been started as an employee benefit (weren’t most?). Gene knew the power of the “sound bite”, and his tendency to verbally provoke was almost legendary. What most people probably did not hear him say is that would not really happen. Serving the retired members (whose assets alone would create a top 100 asset size credit union) would have been reason enough for the credit union to continue. But Mike is right about one thing – the business environment of the 21st century is radically different than that of the 1930s. Few aspects of business are done as they were then, why should sponsorship be exempt? When Bergengren said that credit unions should operate at the elbow of the worker, I do not imagine that he was thinking of shared branches, ATMs, or the Internet. But I do take issue with credit unions that add SEGs for numbers sake and not for service sake. What good is having 500 SEGs if you do not know the names and needs of your sponsor contacts? Do all those groups really have the same member needs? With United, we maintained integrated databases with our sponsors so that information was readily shared and file maintenance was done once. The cost savings of having this type of relationship with groups you serve should not be underestimated. The knowledge that comes from having this type of relationship provides the members with the service that is best for them. As a credit union member, I appreciate this putting the member first, finding your niche to serve, rather than trying to be all things to all people. Numbers do not make a credit union, service does. With quality service, the numbers grow and the economies of scale have a way of producing an even greater ability to serve. That is the best of what credit unions have to offer. Chris Richards Artemenko Former Senior Vice President United Airlines Employees CU Chicago, Ill.

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