As a 34-year veteran of this wonderful thing I learned to love as “the credit union movement”, I feel compelled to protect the legacy of equity from the pioneers of this credit union and the members they labored so hard and so selflessly to bring on board. I believe that many gave much believing that their successors would likewise selflessly give of their time, energy and available funds to make this opportunity available to the following generations. I am convinced that those who made this credit union possible would not have conceived of future volunteers and staff turning the alternative they started to provide services they had been denied by banks, into a bank. I hurt inside for those who brush this trust we have been given as though it were nothing more than a decision to determine which vendor gives the best value to member statement processing. So, how to protect the equity? I am not sure this is the best solution but we are investigating the possibility of a bylaw amendment that would require a two-thirds vote of the entire membership to convert to something other than a credit union and a two-thirds vote of the membership to change that particular bylaw. We must be very careful as we proceed lest we lock in something that is then nearly impossible to change for reasons not relating to equity retention and or distribution. But I believe something on this order is necessary to protect member equity from being serepticiously turned over to savvy investors who know a good deal when they see one and too bad about those who missed the opportunity. I am thinking that included in the bylaw amendment would be provisions requiring full disclosure, open meeting discussions and options for each member to either leave the equity in place for the new owners or distribution to each member on a prorata basis. Obviously, this type of restriction will require careful planning and full discussion by the board, but I believe we will be able to put in place a reasonable safeguard for the members’ equity. Jim Holt President Mid American Credit Union Wichita, Kan.

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