Well, there is some bad news and some bad, bad news.The bad news is not really news. The corporate system has some very large unrealized losses on their financial statements.Of course, our critics seem to believe that credit unions should be immune from financial problems. Just because the rest of the country (and the world) has financial problems is no reason why credit unions should have them.Just because the Federal Reserve, the U.S. Treasury and other regulators couldn’t save many of the largest banks in our country from having financial problems is no reason the NCUA shouldn’t have been able to keep credit unions out of trouble. After all, we are credit unions.Now the bad, bad news is that our best (or worst) critics are ourselves.We don’t seem to remember we have built a strong corporate system with billions of dollars in reserves. We have saved the credit unions millions and millions of dollars in cost-effective services that would have gone to banks if there were no corporates.So, some have said, let’s fire the bums. That must make sense to some but not to me. Should we replace Francis Lee, CEO of U.S. Central, with someone without his experience, dedication and brilliance?Francis is the most principled, knowledgeable and experienced person in the corporate system. If anyone can find a way out of this turmoil, it is Francis. He has a fault-he is much too low key, much too modest. It’s easy to pick on a guy like that.But my advice to all of you is to hang on to him. He does not need the job, and he will only take so much abuse before he walks away.And of course, there is some other disappointing news. CEOs of the two of the largest credit unions in the country called for the dissolution of the corporate system. It’s certainly understandable they would not want to kick in with the bailout funds to save a system they don’t use. And, naturally it is of no consequence to them that the thousands of smaller credit unions that depend on the corporates would then have to go to banks for their financial services.There is some good news. While the NCUA may not have come up with an ideal solution, they are talking about it and are searching for a solution.Finally, listen to Jim Blaine. Jim and I have disagreed on some things, but he is another of the most principled people in our movement. I am so pleased he is also searching for a solution other than “let’s have some blood.”

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Peter Westerman


Credit Union Times

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