LATHAM, NY – The New York Credit Union League has adopted a policy regarding credit union-to-bank charter conversions in the state (see related story on page 13). The NYSCUL board passed the policy in mid-September but it was not made public until after member credit unions were notified about it, according to League spokesman Bonnie Sklar. “Credit union conversions across the country have become a highly controversial subject within the movement, garnering its fair share of publicity along the way,” said Vicky L. Matteson, board chair and manager, Jamestown Area Community FCU. “The League believes that the issue of a charter conversion should be approached from the point of view of the members since they own the credit union.” “We believe that the member-owned, not-for-profit credit union charter is the charter of choice for providing the public with consumer friendly financial products and that the principles set forth will serve as a guide when and if a New York credit union looks at conversion,” added NYSCUL President/CEO William J. Mellin. In addition to supporting the right of members to make decisions for their credit unions and urging that full plain language disclosures be provided to members whose credit unions are contemplating a conversion, the policy also addresses the issue of director fiduciary responsibility to fully explore with the members alternatives to conversion. “NYSCUL retains the belief that credit union directors and managers have a fiduciary responsibility to present honest and objective information to enable members to make educated decisions on conversions, as well as to explore reasonable alternatives, e.g., mergers and liquidations,” the policy read. The League policy also went on the record with the believe that the “net worth of a credit union belongs to, and should remain with, the members.”

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