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I would like to comment on your voting poll questioning whether bankers moving into credit unions is good for the industry. Having served in the credit union movement for over 30 years, I think we need to be careful about properly educating noncredit union people about who we are and what we stand for. As credit unions gain powers and look more like other financials, it’s obvious that we need to adopt stronger business disciplines. It’s also obvious that bankers have skills that are needed in the credit union movement. My uneasiness deals with the potential dilution of our purpose – how this industry has developed over time and what changes may take place with different leaders, who have not shared the credit union philosophy. Bringing in a noncredit union CEO at the top could spell risky in the long run. Bankers are raised in a different world – and while their backgrounds foster a potentially stronger bottom line, the trade-off could be a total culture change within the organization. Who is going to spend countless hours educating the new banker CEO about purpose? Do bankers belong here? I do think there is a case for bringing in their skills, but I would argue that there needs to be a thorough education, period. One in which they are brought in to the credit union at a level below that of a CEO. Let them work with dedicated credit union people for a while before giving them the top job. Finally, we need to ask ourselves why is there a growing trend of bankers moving to credit unions? Is it that they embrace the credit union philosophy over that of banks’? Or is it that credit unions are now able to pay larger salaries? How many bankers are out there vying for CEO jobs in $30 million credit unions? Boards need to be careful who they recruit. Bob Lestina President/CEO Heritage Credit Union Madison, Wis.

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