SAN DIEGO — Through the mire of this week’s financial market collapse, many are encouraging credit unions to seize these troubled times to build on their reputation of trust and loyalty.

“We hope that the recent events will open up proactive opportunities for credit unions and our advisers to discuss the situation and recent market events with their members,” said Valorie Seyfert, CEO of CUSO Financial Services, a broker-dealer and registered investment adviser.

“[Let] let the members know about what the credit union offers through their investment program, prove their credibility and win business as a result,” she urged.

Seyfert said CFS does not carry inventories or participate in leveraged investment vehicles like those offered by Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch.

Henry Wirz, president/CEO of $1.3 billion Safe Credit Union, said “now is a great time for credit unions to pick up some of their business while they are distracted by the challenges of integrating two huge acquisitions on top of all the other acquisitions that are probably not yet completed.”

Needless to say, he’s skeptical about Bank of America’s purchase of Merrill Lynch.

“Citicorp never realized the synergies that were predicted,” Wirz said referring to the bank’s merger with Travelers Insurance a few years ago. “Many analysts believe that Citicorp became too big to manage and that its recent problems where the result of management losing track of the details in many of the business units. I think Bank of America has bitten off more than they can chew.”