I just wanted to take a second to respond to Paul Gentile’s column in the May 9 issue. Gentile absolutely hit the nail on the head. We are a large single sponsor credit union that has succeeded primarily because we have focused on our core membership base. I believe that the combination of our members’ affinity to our organization and our exceptional value proposition is a tremendous driver of loyalty. This concept of affinity plus value is the cornerstone of the credit union movement.

The current environment of mergers, community charters, and conversions to bank charters takes the affinity piece out of the equation. With only the value piece of the equation left, credit unions become just one of many financial institutions that provide value to their customers in the marketplace. I understand that it is very difficult for many credit unions to survive without looking to some of the alternatives I mentioned above, but I believe true growth and not just continued sustainability can be achieved by collaboration among credit unions, leagues, corporates and CUSOs.

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