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Since my first weekly publisher’s column appeared in volume one, number one of Credit Union Times on April 26, 1990, I take great pride in the fact that I have never missed a week and never repeated a column even when my wife and I were on the other side of the globe chasing mountain gorillas on deadline day. This is column number 794. It is also my last column. As far back as those early years when my family and I were sacrificing and struggling day in and day out to create the credit union industry’s premier publication, I always felt that I would know when it was time to sell Credit Union Times. That time has come. Effective with this issue, Credit Union Times will be published by its new owner, Wicks Business Information, LLC, a well established publisher of a variety of business communications that has its corporate headquarters in Fairfield, Connecticut. (See page one news story) I have no doubt that CEO Doug Manoni and his team at Wicks will not only continue the proud tradition of Credit Union Times, but improve upon it. Wicks has the resources and expertise to take this publication to the next level and to expand the brand into important new areas as well. Wicks is hitting the ground running because they are inheriting an excellent full-time professional staff based in West Palm Beach, Florida and several other key locations around the country. They are also getting seasoned correspondents, knowledgeable tech consultants like our son Patric, the industry’s most successful and respected advertising sales representatives, and our long time Wisconsin printer that invented the words quality and customer service. They’ll also be taking over a strong (and growing) base of loyal paid subscribers. And the largest group of supportive display advertisers who book more paid space in this publication than all other credit union publications combined. And regular classified advertisers that now fill up an average of 12 pages of classifieds in a single weekly issue. Oh yes, and me. I agreed to hang around as a consultant during the transition period. Besides me, the longest term staffer, the only other staff person not making the switch is CPA and Finance Director Kathy Naas, the second longest term employee with over 13 years under her belt. I would be remiss if I did not single out Kathy for not only handling the considerable financial aspects of Credit Union Times, as a department of one, but for all the other hats she wore so well such as handling all of the company’s human resources tasks. Kathy, who has worked out of her home office in Naples, Florida, is assisting in the transition. Beginning with the next issue, this space will be filled by Credit Union Times newly named editor-in-chief Paul Gentile. As an industry veteran, Paul expects to pick up where I left off with comments, kudos, criticisms, observations, and most of all opinions that can be found in no other credit union publication week after week. In case anyone is wondering, no I didn’t run out of things to write about. Far from it. The tallest stack of paper on my desk represents possible ideas for future columns. The list of topics and groups that need to be written about is long and getting longer. But I’ll leave that task to Paul. I have no doubt he too will make readers think as I have tried to do these past 15-plus years. One of the many things that allowed Credit Union Times to become the success it is today was the simple fact that I spent over 20 years deeply involved with credit unions, in effect, getting ready to publish this independent news publication. Counting CUNA, CUES and Credit Union Times, I have worked in the credit union industry for almost 37 years. Before the first issue was published, I had the contacts. I knew the people. I understood and believed in the credit union concept. I was on the speaking and consulting circuit. I never missed a CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference or any of the other big ones held each year which provided unparallel networking opportunities. I was totally familiar with the competition and its shortcomings. I was also keenly aware of what made the industry’s movers and shakers tick, even the ones who at times found it difficult to move let alone shake. And I saw a niche for a Credit Union Times that wasn’t being filled by any existing credit union publication. I also had the total support of my wife and five children and a lot of backing throughout the industry for which I will forever remain deeply appreciative. Without it, there would be no Credit Union Times today. But this is not the point in my farewell address where like Academy Award recipients I thank everyone and their favorite aunt. No, this is where I continue my policy of honesty is the best policy and tell it like it was. I had a lot of people who wanted this venture to fail and did their darndest to make that happen. For every 100 great credit union people I have interfaced with, there is at least one jerk out there, many of them still around. These are the people who make a living off of credit unions without really caring a whit about credit unions. You know who they are. The ride to the top was not without obstacles in the road. But overcoming every one of them has made this a better publication, one more in tune with its readers than any other. More than once our family was facing up to pulling the plug and losing everything. But thank goodness, that never happened. I leave with a double dose of pride. Old timers will remember that Credit Union Times was not the first organization I built from scratch. The Credit Union Executives Society had a budget of about $100,000, had just fired its CEO, had two staffers, and was about to go out of business when I decided to give up my position as CUNA’s public relations director and take on the challenge of making something out of CUES. After 17 and one-half years as CUES CEO, I decided it was time to move on and fulfill my dream of proving I could run my own company successfully. Foolish? Perhaps. Would I ever do something like that again? No way. Am I glad I did it? Absolutely! Now it is time to move to a third career. I have lots of ideas written down about things I need to do and want to do. The list contains lots of stuff involving family and friends, some more international travel, a bunch of short trips including exploring my home state of Wisconsin, lots of fun things like sports, movies, and good books, more time at the lake cottage, and maybe even writing that book that has been percolating in my brain for a long time. But I won’t be worrying full-time about credit unions and the thousands of good people who make the wonderful world of credit unions work so well. No, I’ll leave that up to you dear reader. Goodbye. Comments? Call 1-800-345-9936, Ext. 15, or Fax 561-683-8514, or E-mail [email protected]

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Peter Westerman

Credit Union Times

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