Questions Raised On Anti-ConversionGroup

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PLANO, Texas - (05/02/05) -- The make-up of a group formed tooppose the conversion of Community CU to a mutual savings bank hasraised some doubts about the credibility of the organizationbecause the group seems to be headed by paid employees of othercredit unions. Groups opposing credit union conversions, like thenewly minted Coalition for Member Trust, aren't always exactly whatthey appear to, according to Alan Theriault, president of CUFinancial Services, who has engineered almost every one of the morethan 30 credit union conversions to banks. "These groups areusually organized by ex-employees. Credit union leagues tend tohave their fingerprints on these type of groups, as well,"Theriault told The Credit Union Journal. The founding members ofthe Coalition for Member Trust are all industry insiders, workingfor various credit unions and at least one has worked for the TexasCU League. That includes Mark Arnold, founding member and a vicepresident of nearby Neighborhood CU, and Elaine Laroa, a long-timecredit union trade group operative with NASCUS, the Texas leagueand now Texas FCU. The anti-conversion group is also beingsupported by a website crafted by Self-Help CU, the Durham, N.C.,credit union closely allied with State Employees' CU President JimBlaine, an avid conversion opponent. The group received its firstdonation Friday, a $1,000 check from Space Coast CU. But Arnold,also a member of Community CU, insisted the group is acting asinterested Community CU members that don't want to lose theircredit union.

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