To: SECU Board
Dear Chairman Ayers,
You and the SECU Board seem to be unaware of the - at times ferocious - rivalry between credit unions and banks all across the United States. Banks have had growing concerns that credit unions no longer adhere to the purpose for which they were originally created - to provide financial services to individuals of modest means.
The Federal government granted credit unions an exemption from the income tax based upon 1) that specfic focus on financially assisting working men and women; 2) the fact that, as member-owned cooperatives, credit unions operated on a not-for-profit basis; and 3) because each credit union was limited in who was eligible to join - not everybody could!
The decisions by you and the SECU Board to push for open membership ("anyone can join"), to seek growth for growth's sake (via mergers and regional expansion), to reorient services to favor more affluent folks (such as risk-based lending), and to introduce business and commercial services have not gone unnoticed by the banking industry in North Carolina.
In fact, the NC Bankers Association had informed its members [Here's the link] of these pending changes long before the SECU Board had deigned to inform the SECU membership. First time in history that SECU members had to look to the bankers to find out what was going on at their Credit Union!
Business/commercial lending by SECU will wildly irritate the banking industry. That move by the SECU Board appears reckless. You might as well have just poured gas on the bankers and struck a match. You certainly set their hair on fire with that one! Why? Because business/commercial lending is the local bankers' "bread and butter" - requiring extensive analysis, tracking, and negotiation. Bankers believe that credit unions would have an unfair advantage - no taxation - in bidding for commercial/business loans and services. Why again did you decide to start a fight?
SECU has maintained a positive relationship - and yes, rivalry! - with the banks in North Carolina for many years, because SECU has stuck to its' knitting - and its' original purpose.
But, you and the SECU Board "want change"!...suspect the bankers are going to try to make sure you get just that!