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I enjoyed Mike Welch’s column that appeared in the August 25th issue of Credit Union Times (“Mica’s Letter to Bank CEOs Good Idea.But.”) We both know Mica was well intended. It seems to me however that he just sent an overly complex message. Our industry needs to articulate the same simple facts over and over again. Perhaps, anyone and everyone speaking on behalf of credit unions should collectively heed the words of Sgt. Joe Friday: “The facts sir. Just the facts.” * The fact is no bank in recent memory has shown willingness to give up its charter to become a credit union. What does this say about the merits of their claims about “unfair advantages” and “the need for a level playing field”? * The fact is that just recently two credit unions opted to convert to bank charters. I wonder why? * The fact is that bank directors like getting paid and very few would continue to serve as unpaid volunteers. * The fact is bank CEOs tend to be higher compensated than are credit union CEOs and the bankers don’t want a pay cut. * The fact is that while mutual banks are indeed our closest kin, directors and executives at these institutions have a conversion-to-stock trump card up their sleeve that credit unions don’t. That card can be parlayed to either raise capital or individual wealth. * The fact is that when a conversion-to-stock does take place, generous options are typically awarded to directors and executives so as to “align their interests with those of shareholders”. * The fact is options are really awarded to incumbents who have voted for and acted to make the conversion happen. They are not necessarily awarded on the basis of outstanding individual or collective performance over time. * The fact is many view this practice as a few elitists being unjustly enriched! * The fact is numbers tell the story! The total assets of the credit union industry are a mere 7% of those of banks. * The fact is if I were (still) a banker, I’d want my associations to start earning the costly dues I pay and stop their frivolous pursuit of the boogieman. Rick Stout Senior Vice President Charter Oak FCU Groton, Conn.

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