Mike Welch called it right in his Dec. 1 column, “Some Mistakes are Bigger Than Others,” – treating non-affiliate credit unions like second-class citizens is indeed a big mistake. Kudos to NAFCU (and helmsman, Fred Becker) for including non-affiliates in their educational conference mailings – it’s apparent to me that they “get it” when it comes to fostering interest and affiliation. Same kudos for CUES too (and at their helm, Fred Johnson). Our credit union made the business decision to disaffiliate with the state league almost 10 years ago. Efforts to participate in CUNA’s educational conferences at the national level led nowhere. Even after offering to pay a non-affiliate registration premium similar to those assessed by CUES and NAFCU, we got nowhere with CUNA. CUNA’s refusal to include non-affiliates is bad business and just plain silly. What is accomplished by ostracizing potential members? Certainly we non-affiliates have ample educational alternatives. CUNA’s conference registration form states that league affiliation is required but “exceptions may apply.” The conundrum is that CUNA leaves it up to the individual states to determine the “exceptions” and there is no standardized policy applied across-the-board. This results in some leagues permitting non-affiliate participation, some not, and then others granting permission on a credit union-by-credit union basis. And yet participation by non-affiliates such as vendors and trade communication publishers appears to be completely unfettered. I just don’t get it. And apparently CUNA doesn’t either. You’re right, Mike. Big mistake. Carol L. Irby President/CEO RiverLand Credit Union New Orleans, La.

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