'Lazy' Reporting Leaves Many Stones Unturned In Story

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I was greatly disappointed to see the report "Mission Fed Downplays Allegations Made Over Its Financial Strength" in April 24, 2006, edition of The Credit Union Journal. It was at best lazy journalism; at worst journalism with an agenda.

You saw fit to publish as "news" an article based on an anonymous letter, which your reporter described as appearing to be from a disgruntled former employee of the credit union. As we all know, those disgruntled "sources," without any corroboration-which you did not include and presumably did not seek-are far from credible.

Further, while you did give Mission Federal Credit Union the opportunity to respond to these anonymous claims, you did not extend the same courtesy to Centrix Financial, which was also attacked anonymously through your article. No one from your publication bothered to call Centrix for a comment.

If your reporter had, he might have learned that the NCUA did not ask credit unions to "step back" from third-party indirect lending as your story reported, but rather issued an order that caused all credit union funding with Centrix Financial to cease. That was, indeed, a difficult situation for Centrix, but we took the opportunity to work closely with the NCUA to develop the regulatory framework through which credit unions may safely and soundly engage in third-party indirect subprime programs. As a result, the credit union industry now has, for the first time, clear guidelines from its regulatory agency concerning third-party indirect lending.

I would encourage you to follow the developments of this new regulatory environment and the progress of credit unions as they reengage with Centrix and other third-party indirect lending companies. That is real news, worthy of your readers' time.

Lauren Baker

Vice President of Communications

Centrix Financial, Denver, Colo.

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