Stop Placing Blame On TCUL CEO

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As chairman of the Texas Credit Union League, I have watched with disgust as a handful of my colleagues around the country have decided to shoot arrows at the president of my league for serving as the spokesperson for a position that our league board of directors has staked out on the issue of conversions. It seems they want to blame Dick Ensweiler for not stopping the conversions of Community Credit Union and OmniAmerican Credit Union. It's not the management or the board of the credit union's fault, it's Dick's. Why isn't Dick stopping them?

As most of your readers know we appointed a task force of what I consider to be some of the brightest credit union minds in Texas to study this issue and make a recommendation to the league board. They spent a great deal of time meeting in person to research, discuss and review pages and pages of information about applicable regulations and what has occurred in other states. Though members of the task force expressed a variety of opinions, in the end they adopted a position embracing the credit union charter as the charter of choice. They recommended we continue efforts on the legislative and regulatory fronts to strengthen that charter, such as passage of CURIA. The task force acknowledged that the league should not be in the business of micromanaging individual credit unions or trying to overrule decisions made by the credit union membership. The Texas Credit Union League board unanimously adopted the recommendation of the task force and that position sets forth any actions Dick Ensweiler may or may not take as CEO of the Texas Credit Union League.

However that's really not my point in writing. As stated above some of my colleagues are taking shots at Dick for what is happening in Texas. Ed Callahan, former CEO of Patelco CU in California, recently criticized Dick as CEO of the Texas League and CUNA Chairman for not doing more to oppose the two conversions in Texas. My question for Ed is, where were you several years ago when a conversion took place in your state of California? I don't recall you weighing in on the issue when it occurred in your own back yard.

Jim Blaine, State Employees CU CEO in North Carolina, recently tried to attend Community Credit Union's annual meeting. Being unsuccessful in gaining entry to the annual meeting he waited outside to lambaste Dick for his lack of action and questioned his leadership on this issue. Jim, how about protecting the southeast where there have been conversions? As Chairman-Elect of the CU Council at NASCUS why are you not taking a position on the subject and articulating it from that bully pulpit?

I guess it's easier to blame someone else. Both the Texas Credit Union League and CUNA have adopted positions on conversions. Both organizations have numerous directors that supported those positions, yet it appears there are those who want to blame Dick Ensweiler. These individuals have the same opportunity to publicly oppose these conversions. Full-page newspaper advertising in the major metropolitan areas of Texas run about $40,000 an ad. Ed, Jim or anyone else, feel free to step up to the plate and buy the ads.

The truth is it's easier to blame someone else for our own failures. Every one of us, myself included, are guilty of not educating our own members about the value and benefits of owning their credit union.

I have a better idea. Instead of assessing blame why don't we all become more proactive in opposing such conversions by better educating our own members about the value and benefits of owning their credit union? If we had truly done OUR jobs right, conversions would not be an issue now. It's never to late to start!

Gary Davis, Chairman, Texas Credit Union League

President/CEO Chocolate Bayou Community FCU, Alvin, Texas

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