The $27 billion State Employees’ Credit Union told the Carolinas Credit Union League Feb. 3 it will not renew its membership in the league or CUNA this year.
According to a Feb. 5 email from CUNA Executive Vice President of System Relations Susan Newton to league presidents that was obtained by Credit Union Times, SECU President Jim Blaine told the trade he disaffiliated over the dual membership requirement that requires CUNA membership to belong to affiliated state leagues.
“(CCUL CEO) John Radebaugh and (CUNA President/CEO) Bill Cheney and others have had numerous conversations and exchanges with Jim over the past few months, and we of course had hoped for a different outcome,” Newton said in the email.
Cheney told Credit Union Times he's disappointed any time a credit union disaffiliates with a league and CUNA.
Of SECU, he said, "They have been involved in almost every aspect of the credit union movement. We will miss their leadership, support and involvement and hope that this is a temporary situation."
Despite the disaffiliation, CUNA does not appear willing to reconsider its membership structure, according to a Feb. 4 email from Cheney that contained talking points on the topic for CUNA and CUNA Strategic Services board members.
“This dual membership requirement has been reviewed and confirmed by CUNA members over the years, as part of the periodic 'renewal review' process conducted by a CUNA committee of credit unions and leagues,” Cheney wrote in the email.
“CUNA believes that membership in both the national and state organizations (for each credit union’s state) is the optimum arrangement for maximizing credit unions’ advocacy effectiveness, at both the federal and state levels,” he added.
However, Cheney added that CUNA is continuing to work to address SECU’s concerns – within reason, given CUNA’s current structure and bylaws – in hopes that the credit union will reconsider its position in the near future.
Blaine was not immediately available for comment but agreed to speak with Credit Union Times on Monday.
Blaine told Credit Union Times in August 2013 he had previously considered disaffiliating from CUNA and the CCUL over differences in opinion over legislative priorities. At the time, he criticized the trade for failing to advance supplemental capital legislation on Capitol Hill.
“How do you go to Congress and say you’d like to do something that increase safety and soundness, and they won’t buy it?” he said. “I find that astounding, that the trade associations and even the regulator would say that, and Congress would respond, ‘no, we don’t want that.’ There’s something wrong, if that’s truly where we are."
Because of its state charter, he said SECU would not transition to NAFCU like fellow big credit unions Navy Federal Credit Union and Pentagon Federal Credit Union did when they left the organization.
The South Carolina Credit Union League and North Carolina Credit Union League merged to form the Carolinas Credit Union League effective Jan. 1, 2014.
Cheney also said he was focused on hosting the largest annual credit union event, CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference, Feb. 24 - 27 in Washington, This year's GAC is nearing record attendance levels, he said.