The board of directors for the League of SoutheasternCredit Unions postponed taking any action last week on CUNA’scontroversial decision to keep dual membership.

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After meeting in Point Clear, Ala. for a planning retreat, theboard discussed the issue at length and decided to survey theleague’s member credit unions, Patrick LaPine, president/CEO of the Southeastern league, saidMonday.

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“The LSCU believes that in keeping with the recommendation andunderlying rationale of the CUNA Structure and Governance TaskForce Report, which acknowledged that state leagues should considerand act on direct league membership, while CUNA should consider thesame, the LSCU board has directed management to conduct a survey ofAlabama and Florida credit unions on this issue of membershipchoice and reconvene later this month to review the results of thesurvey and make a final decision (if any) on this issue,” LaPinewrote in his weekly column in the league’s newsletter eSignalDaily.

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A brief electronic survey was sent to CEOs in Florida andAlabama on Monday.

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“Your feedback will have a significant impact on the LSCUboard’s final decision as it pertains to membership choice for ourleague,” LaPine said.

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On Sept. 18, the CUNA board of directors voted to maintain thedual membership requirement despite a final recommendation bythe CUNA System Structure and Governance TaskForce to offer credit unions membership choice in CUNAand/or a league.

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“Since then, credit unions have been voicing their thoughts onthe CUNA board’s discussion,” LaPine wrote in his newslettercolumn. “I think it’s safe to say a significant portion of ourindustry is dismayed by the vote and the lack of clarity of whyinterdependence is defined by dual membership requirement.”

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He also mentioned the Michigan Credit Union League board of directors’ decision togrant its credit unions membership choice in 2016.

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“It should be noted that with this action, the MCUL did nothingto violate current CUNA or AACUL bylaws or established policy onthe issue of membership choice,” LaPine wrote.

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Several leagues, however, have publicly announced over the lasttwo weeks support for CUNA’s decision to maintain dualmembership.

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For example, the Cornerstone Credit Union League, the nation’slargest trade association, announced last week that it supportsCUNA’s decision to maintain the dual membership.

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“There has been a lot of conversation around optionality andchoice in the credit union system recently,” CornerstonePresident/CEO Richard L. Ensweiler said. “Our team will continue tosupport CUNA’s leadership as it works with Cornerstone to affectgreater effectiveness, efficiencies and communication among systempartners, while maintaining the existing system structure.”

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CEOs of the Maine Credit Union League, Credit Union Associationof the Dakotas and Credit Union Association of New Mexico also saidtheir organizations support CUNA’s decision to keep the dual membership.

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LaPine said he respects the right of the CUNA board and allleagues to establish their own membership requirements.

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Although LaPine, who also serves as a CUNA board member,personally does not believe in the dual membership, he voted infavor of maintaining it after discussing the issue with otherleague CEOs.

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LaPine was elected earlier this year to the CUNA board ofdirectors to represent league presidents in District 3, whichincludes North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama,Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas.

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“In my personal opinion, I believe in dues optionality and Idon’t think that is any surprise to my colleagues,” LaPine said.“Representing the league presidents in District 3, and I spoke withall of them before the CUNA board meeting, my vote reflected themajority of my constituents.”

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LaPine also pointed out that the Southeastern league is insomewhat of a unique position regarding the dual membershipissue.

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Brad Green, president/CEO of the $672 million Listerhill CreditUnion in Muscle Shoals, Ala., also serves on the CUNA board. TomDorety, president/CEO of the $6.5 billion Suncoast Credit Union inTampa, Fla. and Caryl Greene, president/CEO of the $169 MembersFirst Credit Union of Florida in Pensacola, served on the taskforce. Dorety served as the task force chair. In addition, Greenand Greene are also on the Southeastern league’s board.

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“Depending on the outcome of the survey, the board may decide todo additional outreach (town halls, webinar, etc.),” LaPine toldCU Times. “However, I can’t speculate on that until wehave the survey results in hand.”

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