Now that the furor regarding private insurance has subsided, it might be time to examine this issue and put it into perspective. For this is how we learn from our mistakes and work toward avoiding these same mistakes in the future. While having choices and options is usually considered a good thing, some are content to remove these options under the guise of “safety and soundness.” We must ask ourselves if eliminating private insurance serves a practical purpose or just a political one. As a state chartered credit union that is considering private insurance, I find it amusing that a trade group for federally chartered credit unions would attempt to tell me what is good for my credit union. Not too long ago, when H.R. 1151 was being hotly debated in Congress, CUNA and NASCUS asked state chartered credit unions to stand side-by-side with our federal brethren to fight for the survival of the credit union movement. We did so without hesitation. Even though most CEOs understood that if federal credit unions were not allowed to take in additional SEGs, there would probably be a mass exodus from the federal system and many credit unions would choose a state charter. Those state chartered credit unions put long-term, system-wide success ahead of short-term personal gain. When word of Patelco CU’s conversion to private insurance became public, those feelings of good will were quickly forgotten. Members of Congress were buttonholed to ask for support to do away with an option that has served many credit unions over the past 30 years. I won’t bore your readers with the arguments on both sides of this issue, but one question keeps coming up in my mind – is it the position of NAFCU that federal is the only way? Because if that’s their position, then they may have outgrown their value to federally chartered credit unions. I understand that not every credit union will agree on every issue. That’s why they make chocolate and vanilla ice cream. But to advance one side’s cause at the expense of the other goes against the cooperative nature of credit unions and ignores the fundamental concept that the future of the credit union movement is based on the strength of the entire movement, not just one segment of the movement. Let’s not allow a small segment of the movement to dictate what is good for the entire movement. Mendell L. Thompson President/CEO Nazarene CU Brea, Calif.
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