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Mike Welch’s March 10th column regarding the slowdown in membership growth (“Slowdown in Membership Growth Makes No Sense”) certainly makes no sense except if we look at what is taking place in many, many credit unions. I think his statement regarding loan denials and delinquency rates being too low is right on the money. Credit unions today have a tendency to pay lip service to the philosophy of the credit union movement. However, when push comes to shove, it isn’t happening. When I see loan-to-share ratios at 50% or less, and delinquencies under 0.5%, I do not believe those credit unions are serving their members or attracting new members. They are making only guaranteed loans and competing for the “A”paper, which is like chasing the wind. Welch’s statements regarding payday and predatory lending strengthens the idea that credit unions are not doing their job. There are millions of consumers in the U.S. who could benefit from a credit union. They are the large working class; people working, raising a family or just taking care of themselves and doing the best they can with a much lower income than other more affluent groups. What are we doing to help this group? Payday lenders are providing the services needed at a tremendous cost to the consumer and continue to grow everyday. I believe that Butte FCU is doing its part to help the “underserved”. Too many credit unions classify “underserved” as credit risk and poor and not worth the time. We approved 986 new loans in 2003. Sixty-three percent of those loans were “C” (38%) and “D” (24%) paper. We have a risk-based lending policy so we match risk with rate. I feel very comfortable with our delinquency for 2004 which averaged 1.94%. I can hear the “gasps” already. If you are making loans and doing your job, I think 2% is very acceptable delinquency. Our financials prove it. I didn’t really mean to get on my soapbox, but I feel very strongly that credit unions are not walking the talk. Actually, I just wanted to say that Welch hit the nail on the head. Sharon Angle President/CEO Butte FCU Biggs, Calif.

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