I’ve given some thought to a question Mike Welch posed in his March 3rd column, “GAC Again Setting for [Mostly] Highlights” – “What is the purpose of a bank?” – and thought his answer – “To make a profit” – was a little over simplistic and served only to further polarize the relationship between banks and credit unions. Sure, banks seek to make a profit. They have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to do so. But their purpose is to provide financial services that their customers will need and use. If they don’t fulfill this purpose, they won’t make a profit. Here are some other quick thoughts I have: first, credit unions can’t provide the financial services they offer without earnings either. And as far as the polarization issue, more nastiness has certainly come from the banks on credit union issues than from credit unions, but it still falls somewhat short of being one-sided as we have certainly not been innocent in trying to vilify banks, much as the article describing the so-called “debate” presented. Other than that, I agree with Welch’s thoughts about the “debate”. Although I was not present for the GAC, I would hope that the credit union position would rise higher than name-calling. Martin Hansen President/CEO SMSE FCU Southfield, Mich.


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