Ronald Burniske, CEO of Chartway Federal Credit Union has strongly defended his CU’s mergers with ailing Utah credit unions against critics in that state who say NCUA gave their CUs short shrift.

Burniske called his Utah counterparts “cry babies” for making needless complaints directed to NCUA. He said the complaining CUs fail to realize the advance legwork Chartway has done in scouting out ailing CUs for merger.

“It’s time these guys grow up and comprehend this is the real world of business since no one hands you opportunities– you have to seek them out,” declared Burniske.

Chartway is a $1.6 billion CU headquarted in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Utah credit unions have complained NCUA unfairly ignored local suitors in connection with Chartway’s merger of a failed St. George, Utah CU on June 30.

Chartway has been the target of criticism by CEOs of both large and small Utah CUs for its aggressive expansion into the state, after NCUA approved the mergers of two failed CUs with assets topping $450 million. The June 30 approval of the long-ailing $139 million SouthWest Community FCU of St. George followed its liquidation by NCUA.

The 60-branch Chartway has operations in 10 states but this is its first foray into Utah.

That growth has triggered complaints that NCUA has been giving Chartway favored treatment. NCUA has insisted it is following basic merger criteria related to NCUSIF and member protection.

Utah CUs willing to speak on the record have questioned NCUA decision-making on the Chartway bids, questioning the Virginia CUs’ post-merger accounting methods showing gains in the capital ratio despite the big losses booked by Utah CUs. In line with its confidentiality agreements, the agency has not revealed how much assistance Chartway receivedto complete the mergers.

Burniske has maintained he is abiding by all NCUA rules “though I do have to view those (Utah) credit unions as my competition.” In that regard, “I am not about to reveal our strategy.”

Nathan Anderson, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the $2.7 billion Mountain America FCU of West Jordan, said his CU like others in Utah and elsewhere question NCUA on how merger aid is extended.

“Any time there is assistance given to facilitate a merger we would like to see full disclosure and to have multiple bidders,” said Anderson