I just read editor-in-chief Paul Gentile’s column, “Making the Case for Members” in the March 29 issue, and I hope that Credit Union Times’ readers cut this one out, frame it, and hang it above their desks where they can see it every day. The column is a concise articulation of the strategic position in which the credit union industry finds itself. It uses the member vs. customer issue as an indicator for the entire list of challenges facing the industry. Gentile closes the column with constructive ideas to showcase the ownership aspect of credit unions, and even articulate the relevance of the issue to the bank conversion trend. With all due respect to Gentile’s optimism, it may be too late. A former credit union member of a converted institution actually gains increased ownership (individual ownership, not collective ownership) if they buy stock when the institution takes the second step to a mutual holding company structure. And if they choose not to invest, they lose nothing – they are still owners to the same extent they owned the credit union. Marvin C. Umholtz President & CEO Umholtz Strategic Planning & Consulting Services Castle Rock, Colo.

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