'National Center For Member Trust' Explains Its Role

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Although the conversions of two Texas credit unions to bank charters was one of the things that inspired the creation of the National Center for Member Trust, the group is not all about fighting conversions, according to the organization's spokesman and co-founder Bucky Sebastian.

Sebastian, who is also the well-known CEO of GTE FCU, here, said the vision for the NCMT goes well beyond the conversion issue.

"We are not an anti-conversion group, although that has been one of the things we have taken on," Sebastian noted. "We would like to be the repository of information for anything pertaining to credit unions-white papers, ads, descriptions, legal interpretations, you name it. I envision us placing ads in strategic areas if a credit union issue-be it conversion, taxation or anything else important to credit unions-comes up."

The idea is two-fold: the repository will create a resource for credit unions and/or credit union members so they can see how similar issues have been handled in the past so no one needs to "reinvent the wheel," Sebastian explained. The second half: generating awareness of credit unions and what they stand for, particularly when CUs come under fire for one reason or another in a given area.

"We want the National Center for Member Trust to be a place where credit union members, officials and regulators can go to get in-depth knowledge about credit unions," he related. "No one else out there has that as its primary mission. CUNA is an excellent organization, and we are members of CUNA, and they provide a legislative, regulatory and political interface. We are not going to be involved in politics. We are going to be an institute of knowledge, a databank.

"We're just putting out information. The Federal Credit Union Act talks about how one purpose of the credit union movement is to stabilize the credit system of the U.S., but no one talks about that," Sebastian offered. "We just want to put forward the truth and put forward facts about credit unions that not everyone talks about. We're not here to say anyone else is bad, just that here's the good about credit unions."

Support for the NCMT is growing, with about 50 organizations and/or individuals having made financial donations to the group. "That includes trade associations, credit unions, credit union vendors, and private individuals," he related. "Just the other day, I received a private check sent to me by a gentleman I have never met from a credit union I had never heard of before. This gentleman was a long-time board member, and although he is no longer on his credit union's board, he still reads the trade papers and saw what was going on and decided to send us $100. This stuff is that important."

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