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Judging from Mike Welch’s March 3 column, “GAC Again Setting for [Mostly] Highlights,” I am glad to see he was not impressed with the `great debate’ between State Employees CU’s Jim Blaine and the American Bankers Association’s Ken Ferguson. Neither was I. Often, the credit union and bank battle has been characterized by a David vs. Goliath analogy, so it was with anticipation I attended “The Debate”. I expected to see a `little guy versus giant battle’ in which the little guy (credit unions) would shine in principle and truth compared to the big bad giant banker. Boy! Was I sorely disappointed! I appreciate Welch’s straight-forward critique of the match and, despite the applause of the audience, I did not hear one attendee commend Blaine for his performance. Matter of fact, most thought that the banker, Fergeson, showed great patience and class while enduring the arrogant, rude, glib, and flippant remarks of one of credit unions’ most illustrious representatives. Perhaps, Mr. Blaine felt his purpose was to portray the buffonic (probably not a word) image that bankers have of credit union boards and management. Good grief, if Mr. Blaine were representative of most credit managers, no wonder the bankers despise us. We look as if we can’t even make intelligent or accurate argument for our tax exemption let alone convincingly articulate the differences. It is my belief that any number of smaller credit union managers could have made more points than Blaine did. The American Banker moderator tried to throw softballs to Blaine to get him back on track and Blaine still struck out. Blaine missed at least six opportunities to make valid points of the reason for tax exemption (Yes, Jim, we know 30% of zero is zero, but why not explain the reason for the exemption?). He failed to talk about the different board structures. He only skirted on the edge of democratic, member-owned financials. I was embarrassed at the rudeness and crudeness of Blaine. I expected to witness one very successful credit union president uphold the honor, integrity and dignity of all credit unions. I went away feeling the white hat image of credit unions had not only been tarnished, the horse, or donkey, had stepped all over it. The way I remember the `David versus Goliath’ story was David with his slingshot filled with truth, virtue, unity of purpose and one small stone felled the giant, and the giant properly died. Why does the banking industry giant not fall and stay that way? Probably because our credit union principles, message, and virtue are not as clear as were David’s. Probably because we are using messengers like Mr. Blaine to counter the arguments of the bankers because why else would CUNA have chosen him? If that is Blaine’s personality and CUNA knows him, they had to know what they were going to get. It’s too bad we didn’t know. The highlight of the debate was the last question from the floor. That’s the guy who should have showed up with the slingshot of truth and virtue. Elaine Mausbach President Metro Health Services Federal Credit Union Omaha, Neb.

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