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I read the March 1 issue with a great deal of interest, particularly the articles surrounding credit union conversions. I would like to think that the boards and management of each credit union are making business decisions based on what is best for the credit union and its members. I find it interesting that if a true business decision is being made, based solely on what is best for the credit union and its members, that there is so much contention in our movement? Full disclosure of a credit union’s business decision to make a conversion should be the backbone of such an announcement. If it isn’t about the CEO, board and other officials or consultants making a ton of money, speak out and say so – sign an agreement that the official family will not profit from the conversion in any way. Wouldn’t this mute the issue that the only reason for the conversion is for a select few to get rich? If that isn’t the case, and it is for a select few to get rich, shame on you! Fess up and tell the truth. Let members make a decision on fact, not conjecture or misleading facts. I believe every credit union should have the right and ability to make decisions based on sound practices. The industry seems to have little contention for a credit union merger in which one or more employees of the merging credit union profit in the form of retirement, wages, consultation fees, etc. But yet there is so much contention about changing to a mutual savings bank – it doesn’t make sense. As for regulations and concerns about members knowing what they are voting for, regulation is a fact of life, regardless of your structure – get over it. As for members knowing what is happening, some care, some don’t and in most cases their services would be unchanged or unaffected regardless of the structure. Most credit unions fail to educate their own members on why a credit union is different. Those members think they have a bank not a credit union anyway. I put little stock in opinions offered by consultants or organizations that only profit from the change or the lack of choice. Granted, we all want to protect our income base, but again, put it out on the table. After 28 years in the credit union industry and now as a CEO of a $31 million credit union, I am appalled that rather than work together to find solutions, we have divided into should and should nots. We, as credit unions, are based on cooperation, providing service to our members and being proud that we are different, now we are to throw it out the window over a disagreement on what a credit union should or shouldn’t do If a conversion is in the best interest of a credit union and its members, and the management and official family agree not to profit from the change, I’d support it all the way. It’s a matter of choice. However, if you are profiting from selling out your members, you should have trouble sleeping every night. Isn’t that much like insider trading? Raymond Ward CEO Kent County Credit Union Grand Rapids, Mich.

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