Monday, April 17, 2023

H. 410 - Raeford, North Carolina - A Financial Desert - Preposterous!


Remember the BusinessNC article on SECU published back on February 1, 2023? In the article, the current leadership at SECU put forward Darrin McNeill, as a member who desperately needed business/commercial services from SECU. The implication then, as now with H. 410 - "The Anything Goes Credit Union Act", was that Mr. McNeill lived in some sort of financial desert there in Raeford, NC. it might be wise to take a little closer look at that claim...since there are a lot of preposterous claims being made these days over at the State Legislature.

Darrin McNeill is the owner of Serenity Therapeutic Services, a 150-employee mental health services company in Raeford and a 33-year SECU member. A very successful entrepeneur! He said in the BNC article he was disappointed that SECU hasn’t made business loans. “I feel I’ve never received the type of service from [other lenders] as I have from SECU.” Is it too obvious to point out that "some local bank" has been helping Mr. McNeill become successful in his business over the last 33 years?

SERENITY THERAPEUTIC SERVICES - Home Office: 207 S. Stewart St, Raeford, NC
Lumbee Guaranty Bank - Harris Ave (distance: 1.1 mile)
Truist Bank - 207 S. Main  (distance: .3 mile)
Fidelity Bank - 112 US-401 (distance: 1 mile)
PNC Bank - 201 N. Main (distance: .2 miles)
AgCarolina Farm Credit [link]
USDA Rural Development [link] Lumberton office
SBA [link] NC Wilmington

Don't know about the quality of the service at the banks in Raeford, but looks like there are at least 4 banks within @ 1 mile of Serenity's home office. [link]... not exactly a financial desert, right? Quality of service aside, what NC bankers have always claimed is that commercially-oriented credit unions would use their tax exempt advantage to under-price banks on the cost of services...and of course in "business", cost and expense control are king - price matters! 

Creating Financial Deserts With H. 410 

One of the banks in Raeford is Lumbee Guaranty Bank [link] which is the first Native American bank opened in the U.S. - just celebrated its 50th anniversary! An institution of which all of North Carolina should be proud.

Lumbee Guaranty Bank serves this economically challenged area with 14 local branches in North Carolina small towns like Maxton, Rowland, Red Springs, St. Pauls, Fairmont - where expansion maddened SECU, for example, does not have branches. The bank's business/commercial services are extensive and look fairly priced [link].

Does SECU intend to "under-price" Lumbee Guaranty Bank to attract business accounts? (Skim a little cream off the top?) Open branches in Maxton and Rowland (didn't see it mentioned in the "SECU Strategic Plan"!)? ...nothing like using one's massive financial clout and tax-preferred status (?) to threaten the financial viability of a locally-owned, locally focused, North Carolina community bank - without good reason.  
H. 410 - Credit Union "Updates" will threaten the premier Native American bank in the U.S. of A.  Is that really what North Carolinians want?

The statement - and lobbying claims of the Carolinas' Credit Union League - that small business owners in all areas of North Carolina - "Tier 1" (like Hoke and Robeson counties) or otherwise - do not have access to financial services is "preposterous".

"Making it up" ....doesn't make it true.


  1. This new CEO is making it up as he goes. He will fall and take some with him. He needs to be defeated along with H. 410, both are bad for the credit unions and bad for the Carolinas.

  2. Hazy and Airs going after our Native American owned institutions now. Want to see them try that in Cherokee, if I remember correctly that's close to that financial desert in the Great Smokies. Pretty sure there is a honeypot in those mountains.