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Maybe we need to step back and look at the Community Credit Union conversion vote in a different light. The figure that keeps being repeated in the press is 71% of those Community members voting voted in favor of the conversion. Is it possible, however, that the true and more correct figure would be some where around 94% in favor of the conversion? I field this question with the following old adage in mind: “If you didn’t vote, you still voted.” Why would so many members decide not to vote? For us involved in the day to day operations of our credit unions, it seems to be so vital of an issue that we can’t imagine anybody not taking the time to at least mark a ballot and send it back. Maybe the simple answer is this: these nonvoting members have no idea what the difference between a credit union charter, a community bank charter, or a stock bank charter is. The sad truth is they may understand in a few years, but by then it will obviously be to late. Until the members of credit unions really get involved and actually cast votes, whether it’s for board members or conversions, the trend started by a few credit unions will spread to include a lot more credit unions. This brings me to a second old adage: “If you don’t know, vote no.” Ignorance about any issue is no reason not to cast a vote. Our members need to be reminded that every vote, whether cast officially or not, really does count. With that in mind maybe the headline possibly could be: Community Credit Union Members Reject Conversion By a Margin of 51%. It’s time to put this whole issue in perspective. Community Credit Union will probably soon be a community bank, not because 71% of all voting members said that was what they wanted, but rather 141,000 members actually think that whatever happens really doesn’t matter. In the end, it is in the hands of the members, not the regulatory agency, not the trade associations, not the press, not Congress, not the outside critic, not management, not the credit union board. That’s the way it should be. Michael Nelson President/CEO Desertview FCU Huntington, Utah

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