Hooray for Clyde Padgett’s letter dated April 14, 2004. Mr. Padgett made an articulate summation of my thoughts concerning the hullabaloo over the Credit Unions vs. Bankers debate at the 2004 Governmental Affairs Conference. I too was embarrassed and taken aback by the barrage of criticism from some individuals in the credit union community for Jim Blaine’s participation in the debate with Ken Fergeson. Like most others, I had expectations leading up to the debate. I wanted to hear something new that would shed light on the strategies that bankers have for credit unions. First of all, what did most people think this debate was about? For most astute credit union professionals and volunteers, the animosity between banks and credit unions is no secret, nor mystery. If the debate was simply going to be a rehashing of the familiar and well-worn arguments between banks and credit unions, then the debate would have been pointless. Credit union folks, and the public for that matter, have access to the ABA Web site and can get information first-hand about bankers’ distaste for the credit union movement. So to have a debate that set out to tell me what I already knew would not have been productive. Mr. Fergeson is not the head of the ABA for nothing. He is articulate, smart and persuasive. As an able spokesman for banks, one would not imagine him to purposefully spill his guts with trade secrets that could help credit unions. Unless Mr. Blaine got him drunk or provoked him to the point of retaliation, Mr. Fergeson would only give us what we have already heard. So it would seem that Mr. Blaine’s strategy was to needle Mr. Fergeson into spouting some unprepared statements. Well, alas, Mr. Fergeson did not take the bait. Nevertheless, the effort seemed to be part of a well-calculated plan to exhume critical revelations. If Blaine had succeeded in getting Mr. Fergeson to spew trade secrets like a drunken sailor, the whole movement would be hailing Mr. Blaine as a hero. Instead, just because the results turned out to be less fruitful, this is no reason for second guessing the strategy. Nobody likes a Monday morning quarterback. Question Mr. Blaine’s tactics if you must. Question his jokes if you did not get “bushhog.” But you are way out-of-line if you question his professionalism and commitment to the movement. Maurice R. Smith President Local Government FCU Raleigh, N.C.

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