Well, it has now been six months since the SECU membership approved a resolution of polite inquiry [see October 11, 2022 post] at the 2022 Annual Meeting. Probably time to pause and take stock of what has occurred and what hasn't. So many moving parts, it can get confusing, right?!?
Six months seems like a long time, but the first three months passed waiting - and hoping for the best - as the SECU Board organized its response (the "Fireside Chats") - a courtesy the Board deserved. Hopes having been dashed by the chicanery of the Board's response, January passed seeking an independent review of the proposed changes at SECU, resulting in the BusinessNC article of February 1, 2022. February/March brought on SEANC in opposition to risk-based lending and the blog [www.secujustasking.com]. Much of April has witnessed the unraveling repercussions of all this over at LGFCU....
The SECU Board has responded - in a fashion - to each of the six specific questions asked, although with an often contemptuous and incredibly inept, Pinocchioan panache.
Let's take a look:
- Open Membership - SECU Board says "too soon to say", CEO says "we would like to, we would like to". And, SECU is currently lobbying at the State Legislature for passage of H. 410 which will amend state credit union laws to permit anyone and everyone to join SECU.
- Merger with LGFCU - "SECU never made a formal offer to merge with LGFCU" - Chris Ayers, Chair. The ramifications to LGFCU of the "no formal" appear to be potentially catastrophic.
- Introduction of Risked-based lending - Implemented March 1, 2023 for consumer lending. For mortgage lending in the future. 50+% of SECU members will be overcharged millions of $$$ in interest on loans.
- Business/Commercial Lending - "Yes, in the future in North Carolina". But, SECU is really not waiting! Over, the last 12 months, SECU has switched to investing in commercial loans (CMBS) outside of North Carolina. $1 billion in member funds have already been exported away from N.C. in commercial loan investments.
- Tax Prep Service - providing this service to 100,000 SECU members was too much of a bother. "They will just need to find another solution".
- Ending the North Carolina Focus - SECU Board says of course not. But, "Growth for growth's sake quotes, Ad campaign, logo redesign and marketing messaging, support of H. 410 (out of state expansion provisions), out-of-state commercial investments, merger proposals, "dissing "of SEANC, and well-documented conversations at the Board and senior management level say otherwise. Another nothing "formal" prevarication perhaps?
So now, understanding that those 6 concerns were real and that the SECU Board is "dug in", our focus will shift next to the State Legislature and the fight over the passage of "H. 410 - Credit Union Updates".
Approval of H. 410 will give the SECU Board a legally clearer path to pursue these changes; and, to convert SECU into an anyone can join, regionally/commercially/growth focused institution, no longer interested in, nor controlled by, the best interests of the member-owners. Defeat of H. 410 will most likely lead to proposals to change out the leadership at SECU. The SECU Board and senior staff have definitely taken cover, but it is a little too late.
The very public nature of a Legislative fight will require the SECU Board "to come out and play in the open"; and, to be directly questioned, on the record. A little sunlight and fresh air will be very helpful to this discussion!
So, be sure to go back and review the posts under the H. 410 click box on the white line above. If you wish to contact your state representatives, will show you how to do so tomorrow.
Progress is being made. The word is - finally! - reaching the membership. One gauge of that reach is that www.secujustasking.com has had over 200,000+ "hits" in the first 45 days... folks are interested in their Credit Union!