(Editor’s Note: Hardage is a former vice president of the Texas CU League under its Credit Union Resources umbrella. He managed Texas Credit Union Service Centers, Inc. until December 2003. Other than as a member, he is no longer affiliated with any credit union organization.) It is interesting and typical that now that the NCUA has placed a stick on its shoulder and dared Community CU and OmniAmerican CU to knock it off, Texas CU League CEO and CUNA Chairman Dick Ensweiler is only too happy to peek out from behind the coattails of the NCUA and admonish both credit unions as “shameful” for filing suit against the NCUA. Mr.Ensweiler characterizes the lawsuit as a waste of more member money and resources. If I’m not mistaken, only a few months ago Mr. Ensweiler stepped out from behind the coatails of a charter conversion task force and announced that the task force concluded charter conversion decisions were better left to credit union boards and management. There’s no doubt that charter conversion can be immediately lucrative to credit union boards and management, and that this may have been a significant factor in Community CU’s and Omni CU’s decisions to convert. Nevertheless, it is doubtful that expected financial gain was the sole factor in either of their decisions. Rather, I suspect that both credit unions also assessed their members’ return on league dues and concluded that return to be less than market value. As I watch the conversion crisis turn the back stretch, I begin to view Community CU’s and OmniAmerican CU’s conversion motives with less skepticism than I do those of so-called credit union leaders. The NCUA appears to be nitpicking by implying that members are too dull and hapless to find and then understand disclosures printed on the back of page one. In the mean time, the TCUL constituent credit unions appear content to foster a board that nurtures coat-holding politics over true leadership. Charles Hardage, CPA Member Amoco Federal Credit Union Texas City, Texas

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