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As the chairman of the Texas Task Force on Credit Union Conversions and vice chairman we recently called upon our task force of 10 Texas credit union leaders to re-examine our previous recommendations on the issue of conversions, in light of all the developments since we met early in the spring. With the addition of a couple of specific references to our support for the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act, we reaffirmed our previous recommendations. Likewise, the Texas Credit Union League’s board of directors reaffirmed the policy statement and action plan on June 10. The first sentence in TCUL’s Policy Statement on Conversions states unequivocally our belief that the credit union charter is the superior financial institution form. Though many of us believe it’s an ugly fact that some board members and senior executives have been motivated by the opportunity to receive preferential treatment in the sale of stock, we do not believe that a trade association should attempt to insert its opinion between the elected officials of a credit union and the member/owners. We believe that informed members have the moral and legal right to change the corporate form of the financial institution that they own. The operative words are “informed members.” NCUA in its capacity as administrator of the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund has established minimum disclosure requirements for credit union management to make to credit union members who are asked to vote on the issue of conversions. At the very least, converting credit unions should abide by these NCUA-required disclosures. However, we also believe credit union members should have access to additional information, so we recommended that TCUL President Dick Ensweiler be authorized to speak with local reporters and set up a Web-based resource to tout the credit union advantage. He has done exactly that, and in fact, has executed all of the action steps that were recommended, including advocating for regulatory reforms that would alleviate some of the concerns that converting credit unions point to as their reason for abandoning the credit union charter. Given that Dick speaks on behalf of 600 Texas credit unions, he does not have the same freedom to throw verbal bombs that some of his critics enjoy, but we have been proud of the professional way in which he has carried out our recommended response to the issue of conversions here in Texas. Gary Tuma President Smart Financial CU, and Chairman of the Texas Task Force on Credit Union Conversions Houston, Texas

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