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I was compelled to respond to a letter Coalition for Credit Union Charter Options Executive Director Lee Bettis wrote to Michigan CU League CEO Dave Adams, where Bettis criticizes Adams for himself personally and the league getting involved in the DFCU Financial conversion issue. Here is what I sent to Mr. Bettis: I received a copy of your letters to Mr. Dave Adams that you sent, evidently for my edification and that of the world since you copied the CU Times. I considered responding to the first letter then dismissed it, but thought it necessary this time as you continue to tell us how to think and you choose to use the media as your megaphone. Mr. Bettis, in your second letter you state, referring to the CCUCO, “We are an education and advocacy group formed to represent the interests of credit unions that want to preserve charter choice under reasonable rules and at a reasonable cost.” If freedom of choice is truly what drives you and the CCUCO then for fairness and freedom sake, let it apply equally to all players. By your own admission your organization consists of former credit union executives. I’ll assume you were steeped in the grassroots and traditional values of the credit union movement at some point in your careers and that you realize the importance of the democratic process. The members of DFCU Financial that want to keep their credit union as it is have a right to say so. They also have the right to be informed about all the aspects of a conversion to a mutual saving bank and to know how it will benefit them. Based on the stated purpose of the CCUCO your organization should embrace fairness and openness in all proceedings of this magnitude. I encourage you to look within yourself and the your organization to see if your actions measure up to your statements. Finally, before you completely dismiss this letter as being of no value because it comes from the “anaemic 10 basis points in return on assets” credit union, I encourage you to reconsider the value of a one member one vote system. One day I said to a friend of mine “you know the golden rule!” He responded with “ya, those that have the gold make the rules.” That little statement Mr. Bettis sums up the importance of preserving the credit union system, an equal voice for all folks! I think what Mr. Bettis misses is we need all credit unions, large, small and in-between, to keep this valuable movement alive. As a small CU, we so depend on larger CUs to develop CUSOs, services and products that we can purchase or rent for the benefit of our membership. The data processing, shared branching, mortgage services, Web page support and other products that our CU offers its members come from larger CUs. I thank god for them and certainly don’t want to see them depart the movement. Smaller and medium sized CUs are vital as well, not just to help politically but in serving people in the communities they’re from. Can you imagine if there were just a handful of large CUs in America (if they didn’t convert to a bank), how unsympathetic the CEO would be to the needs of a community they serve thousands of miles away? Does anyone really believe that a CU in California has as much concern for Detroit folks as those that live in the communities of Detroit? Granted the standard argument is that the branch managers live in the community and they will let the management and board know what is needed. Yes, but do branch managers go to board meetings to represent their communities and plead their case? No! The real answer here is to keep and protect what we have, services that flow to the membership that start at the board table filled with volunteers representing their own communities. Those volunteers that know the heartbeat and needs of their neighbors, business owners and residents of their communities. That’s why we need to keep many credit unions (of all sizes) in this movement, to protect the best interest of the people we serve. Terry L. Denmark CEO Dearborn Village Community CU Dearborn, Mich.

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