Credit Union Times Editor Paul Gentile was too harsh in his criticism of Michigan credit unions and uncharacteristically kind toward banks in his April 18 column. Referring to the Michigan League’s brand campaign, he disagreed with the MCUL Board’s decision to run radio ads in the wake of Michigan’s largest bank’s announcement that the bank plans to relocate its headquarters to Texas. He also called MCUL “high and mighty” for criticizing the move and referred to Comerica’s decision as “smart business.” Ironically, in the same edition, CU Times Senior Correspondent Jim Rubenstein properly points out that the MCUL is among a “chorus of statewide criticism” that included Fifth Third Bank, Franklin Bank, Flagstar Bank, Governor Granholm, state lawmakers and Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick. How is it “high and mighty” to use a news story like this one to illustrate the credit union difference? Gentile even points out, “It’s not the CU model, but nonetheless.” Michigan has the second highest unemployment rate in the nation. Detroit has the highest foreclosure rate of any metropolitan city. People are hurting financially and the entire state is struggling to return to its past prosperity. Michigan credit union leaders are justifiably proud of the fact that they stick with their members and communities through thick and thin. The same cannot be said of Comerica Bank. Gentile was wrong to criticize Michigan credit unions and the MCUL for seizing this legitimate opportunity to show how special and different credit unions are from banks.

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