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Mike Welch’s column “Waving the Flag for Small Credit Unions Not Smart” backfires badly because it is a no-win proposition. Criticizing small credit unions and regulators is like criticizing children and mothers. We’ve all been the former and we’ve all been nurtured by the latter. I agree with Mike (as does Board member Matz) that both small and large credit unions are important and together do a good job of serving our nation’s credit union members. In the case of Truliant, 36% of our member households earn less than $40,000 per year; 14% of those households have car loans with us with an average balance of $10,700 for a portfolio of $42 million in loans so modest income folks can get to work. Add another $43 million in mortgage loans to the same segment and you have $85 million in loans that meet the basic needs of people of modest means. To paraphrase Mike, a $1 million credit union can’t do that. On the other hand, I’ve worked with and for smaller credit unions that relate better to their members than we sometimes seem to be able to do. They are not unwilling to offer services to their members or to innovate; their scale does make it more difficult to do so. Still they find ways working with their League or a sponsor company to do things that even larger credit unions struggle to do. The point is that there should not be an adversarial tone to the discussion about credit unions and their size. NCUA Board member Matz has been instrumental in setting a balanced tone recognizing that credit unions of all sizes contribute to the service of consumers under the not for profit banner. Although she may feel that small credit unions are more in need of defending, protecting and raising up for recognition because they lack the resources of their larger brethren, she has not done so at the expense of larger credit unions. Highlighting the attributes of small credit unions is not a zero sum game. Marc Schaefer President/CEO Truliant Federal Credit Union Winston-Salem, N.C.

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