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I enjoyed Mike Welch’s March 10 column “Slowdown in Membership Growth Makes No Sense,” and I feel the results have not been as good due to the following: * Members are dying (old members are leaving the membership and their children are not keeping the funds in the credit union.) * Charging an entry fee or “membership” fee of $10 or more impacts the sign-up. I tried to waive this fee for the retiree who wanted to open a Certificate account or checking account with direct deposit. * New management armed with an MBA has determined what is a “profitable” account. They have fee-ee-ee-d the accounts to eliminate them. * Entry requirements are difficult – open an account with $100 or more plus pay an entry fee. * Sales of credit card portfolios. Members dislike the transfer of their credit cards to another place. * Credit unions are not as advantageous: They do not pay the highest savings rates, they do not have the lowest interest rates on loans, they do not have the lowest service charges/fees. * Attitudes of boards and management: build capital by having retained earnings by charging more fees, by having a more profitable member base. * Going for the low-income marketplace, but not doing anything with it. * Identity theft losses. Now potential members have to jump a lot of hurdles (copies of photo ID, numerous questions, credit checks, etc.). Ed Baranowski Retired, President/CEO Fairwinds CU Orlando, Fla.

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