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GALVESTON, Texas – Despite facing formidable challenges in 2005, voting delegates at Texas Credit Union League’s 72nd Annual Membership Meeting April 20 adopted a 2007 dues schedule that will keep dues at the 2006 rate. “When two of our largest credit unions became banks, dues took a hit,” said TCUL Treasurer Pamela Stephens. Two additional legislative sessions in 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the loss of two strategic business partners and intensified responses to banker attacks also affected league finances. “These events had an impact on the budget, both on the dues side and on the resources side [fee-supported services], but with some belt tightening and credit unions’ strong participation in programs, we were able to make up the shortfall, and TCUL Resources paid a dividend this year,” Stephens said. “The league remains well capitalized and liquid.” The league received member affirmation in 2005, in the form of the highest rating ever on its annual image survey, conducted for the past 10 years. That’s good news, as future stability of the dues structure is questionable. “The road ahead will not be simple. I have appointed a task force to study the dues structure,” said TCUL Chairman Gary Davis. “I know we don’t want to discuss changing dues unless it is to recommend a decrease, but we must address reality.” Stephens noted that other challenges lie ahead – a shrinking number of credit unions, a shrinking pool of financial resources and increasing credit union needs – and that the league’s success will hinge directly on the strength and viability of the league’s financial position. The league, however, had much to celebrate in 2005, ticking off accomplishments and new programs in many areas. Highlights included the introduction of a Bank Secrecy Act training video, a new shared compliance officer program, the Juntos Avanzamos Hispanic outreach recognition program, online and payroll deduction capabilities and record contribution levels for TCUL’s political action committee, and a 2005 contribution to Children’s Miracle Network/Credit Unions for Kids of more than $1 million. Chairman Davis announced new “Disaster Experience” sessions that will be offered in September that address awareness, preparation, mitigation, response and recovery from disasters of any nature. Membership meeting attendees viewed a video announcement from Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst that reaffirmed his support of credit unions’ tax-exempt status. He congratulated credit unions, saying, “Thanks for all you do to support the Texas economy.” Texas Credit Union Commissioner Harold Feeney was recognized for his 10 years of service working with state-chartered credit unions, and GECU president and CEO Harriet May was recognized for her testimony at the House Ways and Means Committee’s hearing on the credit union tax-exemption Nov. 3, 2005. TCUL CEO Dick Ensweiler told the audience that credit unions must stand strong against bank trade associations working to convince credit unions to change charters. “They’re trying to get us to question who we are and whom we serve. We’re not going to let that happen,” Ensweiler said. “Let every association know we will pay any price.to ensure the financial freedom of individuals.” In conclusion, Ensweiler referenced a Benjamin Franklin quote: We must all hang together, or most assuredly we will all hang separately. “For us that means hanging together united in our message that credit unions are about people helping people,” Ensweiler said. “We must push the message to legislators to ensure the credit union mission remains intact and true to members.” -

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