MARIETTA, Ga. – There is little doubt the membership of a credit union undergoing conversion to a mutual bank “has to be fully informed and appraised of the consequences” of such action in a mail ballot, according to the vice chairman of Georgia Credit Union Affiliates, Ed Collins. Queried about developments surrounding the 2001 Albany conversion of AGE CU into HeritageBank, Collins, the president/CEO of Lockheed Georgia Employees FCU here, said a majority of the members should decide the issue in the mail ballot “rather than at the annual meeting” to keep voting fair. Moreover, Collins said the CU managers spearheading the conversion move “need to look at themselves and ask `why are doing it’ – to better serve the community” or for selfish gain. The Lockheed CU executive also said he did not see any trend toward more conversions in Georgia, at least “not yet.” Echoing Collins’ view on balloting, Juri Valdov, CUNA vice chairman and president/CEO of Northwest Federal CU, Herndon, Va., stressed the “personal gain” aspect of conversions noting also he had written NCUA a comment letter on conversion rules. “I did make a few suggestions including having the print be in large bold letters” in detailing ramifications of conversion, said Valdov.

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