Bankers Eye CU-ConvertCandidates

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ORLANDO - (11/17/05) -- An executive with one of the largestbanks in the United States first had praise for the market positioncredit unions have built, but then went on to suggest CU executivesare being short-changed financially for the work they'veaccomplished. In fact, suggested Richard Hartnack, vice chairmanand head of the Consumer Banking Group at the $207-billion U.S.Bancorp, Minneapolis, credit union CEOs would be wise to converttheir credit union to a bank charter-before someone else does.Speaking to the Bank Administration Institute's Retail DeliveryShow, at which there was a large contingent of credit unionspresent, Hartnack praised credit unions in bank-terms for becoming"very valuable properties." Hartnack then went on to say, "At somepoint the management or the members or both will figure out justexactly how valuable the franchise they are sitting on is...Here'sthe worst position you can be in today. You're 60 years old andyou've been the CEO of a credit union for 30 years. You've built itfrom being nothing to a couple of hundred-million-dollar franchise.And your retirement party consists of a cheap sheet cake, a goldwatch and a handshake. And you're going to look into the eyes ofthat carefully recruited successor and in those eyes you're goingto see someone who just might convert your credit union, take theoptions, and reap the profits." Afterward, several credit unionexecs told The Credit Union Journal they didn't know what to makeof the comments, which came in the opening keynote address. OneCUNA rep said it sounded like it was straight out of an AmericanBankers Association video.

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