'Glimmers Of Improvement' Seen

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ANAHEIM, Calif.-The concerns credit unions had in 2005 would be welcomed today, according to Diana Dykstra.

Just five years ago, Dykstra was the outgoing chairman of the California & Nevada Credit Union Leagues as it held its Annual Meeting and Convention at the Disneyland Resort. Now the brand-new CEO of the same association, Dykstra noted her 2005 speech addressed concerns about consolidation of CUs (the movement was down to 9,200 credit unions) and ROA had declined to 1.02%. "What we wanted, and eventually got, was bankruptcy reform. Our big regulatory concern was Bank Secrecy Act enforcement. What we wouldn't do to have those concerns now."

Today, credit unions are still dealing with the crisis they have lived through the past two-plus years, Dykstra continued. She said some "glimmers of improvement" are evident, but recovery will still take time. "We have come out well, we have done a good job, but right now is the time for credit unions to step up and reimagine our futures. It is a time for real collaboration. we have thrown around that word for years, but 10 years from now I don't want us to be disappointed about what we didn't do. We need to find new ways to be successful."

CUs have "led the way" on loan modifications for their members, and made loans when no other financial institution would, Dykstra declared. She urged credit unions to make connections with their local media to "tell our story."

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