Coalition: Members' Efforts To Derail Conversion 'Tyranny'

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The Coalition for Credit Union Charter Options, a group led by executives of former credit unions that have converted to mutual savings banks, issued the statement, below, after DFCU Financial Credit Union in Dearborn, Mich., withdrew its bid to convert (CU Journal, April 24).

"The tyranny of a misguided minority, manipulated by the state credit union league and funded by outside agitators, has succeeded in denying the membership at DFCU Financial their democratic rights.

"[The] withdrawal of the application to convert charters means the full membership won't get a chance to be heard," said Lee Bettis, executive director of the Coalition for Credit Union Charter Options. "It appears that's exactly what the opponents wanted. They were dead set against the conversion before they had even read the disclosures. Evidently, they didn't want to run the risk of the members actually approving the conversion."

Bettis added: "This process was poisoned by a collection of vested interests committed to preserving the status quo, regardless of its adequacy. DFCU Financial was trying to reposition itself to address the challenges in the Michigan economy. Now, we have $200 million in new capital that won't be injected, and $4 billion in loans that won't be made, to help southeast Michigan grow its way out of current troubles."

"It's ironic," observed Bettis. "Normally, you see protesters clamoring for change, not demonstrating in favor of the past. But, since Michigan has been stung so badly by economic disruption, there seems to be a persistent nostalgia in some quarters for what folks once had, and a determination to fight a hopeless war against the future."

Bettis continued: "There's a proud history of collectivist solutions in the state. But they just aren't working very well anymore under relentless global competition. Yet, here in the case of DFCU Financial's conversion, an unholy alliance of reactionaries-including unscrupulous, turf-protecting bureaucrats-is trying to turn the clock back."

"We respect the decision of the DFCU Financial board to quell the acrimony and divisiveness, in the interest of all members, by withdrawing their proposal," Bettis said. "It's unfortunate, though, when a miniscule fraction of a credit union's membership can hijack the institution and thwart the democratic will of the majority."

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