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Mike Welch’s column in the Feb. 9 issue and the accompanying letters it spurred from two long-time friends, Jack Dublin and Dick Robertson regarding credit unions converting to banks, sparks another “old timer” to add to the resistance force. I simply cannot believe that non-credit union people would use such a wonderful cooperative idea called a credit union for their own benefit. I’ll bet that the old organizers would turn over in their graves if they knew what was happening to their idea of “Not for Profit, Not for Charity, but for Service”. I simply don’t know what the “real” problem is when the CEO decides to convert. Sure, legislation has been and will always be an issue about relaxing laws to serve our members better. That is all part of “We make making a difference an alternative”. As long as I can remember, before conversions that is, the movement has always had rebels with causes and those with no causes. As a league president, I always appreciated those who wanted to serve better so they formed the “Cadillac Club” and various other organizations so they could tell others what they had accomplished in their credit unions. Their attitude was really self-pride, entrepreneurship, and legally wanting to do more since the democratic process was not moving fast enough. So be it – they still called themselves credit union idealists. They were rebels with a cause. Credit union philosophy was still there. Many of them were ex-bank employees enjoying the credit union idea. Self-interest was only involved in salary negotiations. With some, now comes the change of heart as to understanding what the credit union philosophy is all about and what a jewel the credit unions really are and what they add to the financial systems of nations. As an example of cooperativeness we (Kansas credit unions) bought a bank in Kansas back in the early 1970′s because we could not gain access to the automated clearing houses or the Federal Reserve and checking. So buying the bank and using our corporate gave us this access. We didn’t convert credit unions to banks because we could use the access to those services for which we did not have the legal authority. So in the final analysis, to those of you who want to be bankers and use credit union members and their reserves to accomplish your selfish desires, I would recommend as an alternative that you buy a bank or form one of your own and please let those of us who are credit union idealists continue supporting the mission of credit unions as a truly cooperative financial experience. Jim Jukes Former CUNA and League Executive Waunakee, Wisconsin.

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