One Newspaper's View Of Events At Columbia Credit Union

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Below are excerpts of an editorial in the newspaper The Columbian following the special membership meeting at Columbia Credit Union.

Columbia Credit Union's directors stuck now somewhere between "Whoopee!" and "Whew!" find themselves still in control after Sunday's large election meeting. But stern lessons have been dispatched. How well the board hears those messages and reacts to them remains to be seen.

All eight directors who were subject for removal escaped that fate, but they must acknowledge the high level of discontent. None of the directors received as much as 60% approval from member voters. As they resume their work under conditions we hope will be more harmonious and less volatile, the board of directors must wonder how a typically noncontroversial endeavor such as a credit union came to occupy such a glaring spotlight in the community...So the members' collective disenchantment, even if temporarily subdued, cannot be ignored.

In matters this contentious, turning to independent sources often is most beneficial. Our recommendation is that the CCU directors once again review the January report from the National Credit Union Administration. The NCUA, which routinely had granted requests to other credit unions seeking to become banks, denied CCU's conversion request, citing the board for a membership vote that was not conducted in a "fair and legal manner" and complaining that "the member disclosures were misleading."

Credit unions are, by their nature, dedicated not only to service but to member control. Members elect directors, and members have a right to feel like they are fully involved in key decisions, especially such a monumental initiative as the possible conversion to a bank.

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