Thursday, March 9, 2023

SECU Board Members Bob Brinson And Thomas Parrish - To Tell The Truth?

 To: SECU Board Members Mr. Bob Brinson and Mr. Thomas Parrish

Bob BrinsonImage of Thomas Parrish the 4th

         Mr. Brinson                       Mr. Parrish

 Dear Sirs,

You - Mr. Brinson and Mr. Parrish - have received the email below from the retired Chief Information Officer (CIO) of SECU. His comments are the result of a recently published article in the Triangle Business Journal (3/6/2023), in which your current CEO claimed that SECU hadn't updated its technology systems since 1983. Even a casual, "technologically-challenged" observer knows that statement is a lie for the many, obvious, non-debatable reasons listed below.

Mr Brinson and Mr. Parrish you both have distinguished careers as former CIO's in state government.  From your decades of experience in tech leadership roles, you know full-well that the truth is not being told by the leadership of SECU. Yet, you have remained silent as the article has been forwarded as the truth to SECU member advisory boards, staff, and to the membership.

Mr. Brinson and Mr. Parrish, how much longer will you remain silent? Your continued silence seems to  reflect and support the "new culture" at SECU; and, if continued, will eventually speak volumes as to your credibility as a leader. Not a particularly high note on which to end a distinguished career in technology, is it? Speaking up for the staff and the Credit Union only requires courage and character. But, that's your call, your choice, your integrity.

Hope you don't take this too personally...well actually, I do hope you take it extremely personally!

Recent letter to SECU:

Mr. Hayes / Board of Directors - State Employees’ Credit Union


I am compelled to add some context around the comment by Mr. Hayes found in the Triangle Business Journal (March 6, 2023 - 7:00 am)



SECU hasn’t updated its systems since 1983, and change won’t happen “overnight.”


First, I must recognize that the SECU Board has always had my respect, but I am deeply concerned about the information on the street regarding SECU, the Board, and, yes, technology.

I left the Credit Union in September of 2021, where we had assets of $50B.  I started as a programmer in 1985 when the Credit Union had less than one billion in assets.   Continued growth each year was always achieved.

My last position was CIO.  The reason I left had nothing to do with the new CEO.  I thought the prep, story, and background he received about SECU & IT were incorrect and against my core beliefs. 

I worked at a few large financial institutions.  SECU's Technical staff is the best I have ever been part of. The dedicated IT managers were always in step with the business & members who worked well beyond the traditional 8x5 job.   My God, the entire organization has the most committed folks … no question, 


Please review the following brief history of some of the technological updates/changes throughout the years: 


-Chose the best software from multiple vendors, control costs and quality, modify to meet the needs of members, and ability to develop new products internally.

-Upgraded highly complex operations including hardware, software telecom interfaces, and connectivity to related providers worldwide -Visa – PSCU – Fed – State and 100+ school systems, credit bureau, IRS, etc.....…

-Supported 7x24x365 operations and multiple sites for redundancy.

-Grew to 500+ employees. Excellent uptime record.  SECU operated like a  FinTech as a conscious business decision that has allowed the Credit Union to prosper, innovate, and control our Technology decisions.

-Provided TECH services to 5 different Credit Unions, an investment company, an insurance company, a property management company, tax prep, 275 branches, and over 1100 internally managed owned Cashpoints ATMs.

-Operated major Call Centers, internet, and mobile services for over million+ accounts.

-Millions of mobile/online transactions are processed efficiently with increasing monthly volumes.

-Yes, most financial institutions still have some legacy software that needs to be replaced, but that has not kept SECU from adding and upgrading hundreds of other pieces of software and numerous upgrades in hardware, terminals, ATMs, PCs, and Processors.

-TECH was always at the table as an important internal business at SECU. SYS.OPS (meeting with CEO at least monthly), including developing a new PMO (project management office).

-As a vital part of the most senior levels when changes, innovation, new products, and services were discussed.  IT was always there at the beginning of recent efforts and included in the design and structure of the future of the Credit Union.   IT was never an “afterthought” at SECU.

-TECH is a crucial strength of SECU and always has been, with great people, great systems, and exceptional results.

-Folks saying differently is pure BS!


TECH growth/transition has always been part of our direction.  While I worked for SECU, we upgraded or replaced almost every central system.  By the way, in 2021, SECU completed the migration of two new Data Centers.  These are 3.5+ tiered facilities where 4 is the highest grade achievable.  SECU technical and business staff were strategically involved in every step. The main reason for the new Data Centers was to position for the future. This was driven by approval from the Board to help jump into the next generation of technology.


SECU hasn’t updated its systems since 1983…


. This statement is not fair!

.. This statement is not correct!

... I am glad we continue to look at new technology, but why would you make this statement?


Respectful – Concerned - Confused,


Chris Ayer [Retired Chief Information Officer at SEC]






Ties Back


 To: The SECU Board of Directors

Dear Mr. Ayers,

Thought you'd like to see a real life letter from one of your employees. Mr. Ayers, you and the SECU Board are losing the respect of  the membership, the North Carolina community at large, and your staff. 

You are damaging the reputation of the organization - and your own! - and you are destroying the dignity of the staff...

 Chris Ayers ImageAlice GarlandMona MoonJennifer Haygood Image

McKinley Wooten, Jr. ImageStelfanie WilliamsJo Anne SanfordMark Fleming Image

Bob BrinsonBen McLawhorn Image Image of Thomas Parrish the 4th

 Ayers, Garland, Moon, Haygood, Wooten,Williams, Sanford, Fleming, Brinson, McLawhorn, Parrish.



  1. Chris Ayers, Chair
  2. Alice Garland, VC
  3. Bob Brinson         
  4. Jo Ann Sanford    
  5. Jennifer Haygood 
  6. Mark Fleming       
  7. McKinley Wooten 
  8. Mona Moon          
  9. Stefanie Williams  
  10. Thomas Parrish     
  11. Ben McLawhorn@
Give Us Our Ties Back

from: SECU Employee

Good morning, I’m a veteran SECU employee, a manager with a moderate level of years worked (keeping myself vague intentionally). The name provided  above is something of a “call to arms” statement. Jim Hayes came in, and his first act was change the dress code. I’d argue many employees are fine with the new dress code. However, this new dress code symbolizes what I consider a larger problem. It’s a lot of smoke and mirrors. Superficial items like dress code changes, Flex Time off for branch employees, a benefits “update"…these items are meant to draw attention away from real changes occurring to our organization. Changes that are to the detriment of our members.

Many employees are already dealing with “employee exhaustion” burnout from not allowing branches to determine the appropriate staffing needs-while losing staff to internal and work from home opportunities.  We’ve been told we aren’t in a hiring freeze, but rather we’re hiring based on need. The branches are in need, but it seems someone’s “equation” to determine a branch efficiency number is more important that the actual opinion of those entrusted to run the branches. Folks aren’t comfortable to speak up regarding the real changes occurring but I can tell you that risk based lending is already taking its toll on branch staff. Many experienced staff feel “like a bad person” for having to charge these rates to good members who always pay us. We leave each day with a feeling of not making a difference, but that of what are we doing and this doesn’t feel right. This is not the credit union I know.

 My father was a state employee, they got their mortgage with SECU when we moved to my childhood home. They were charged a fair rate and this is what made them able to buy a home which they still own today. I’m a lifetime member, had my accounts well before working here. When I tell you the concern is real, I mean it. Employees have a real worry about where we’re headed. I want to thank you for fighting the good fight for those who feel they can’t speak up for fear of their jobs.

As for the call to arms mentioned earlier, it’s not about the dress code at all. It’s about getting back to what the credit union is all about, serving EVERY member with dignity and sincerity, helping those that need our help. People Helping People. Give Us Our Ties Back is about doing the right thing, for everyone, not just affluent, A-paper members.

SECU New Direction/New Culture - An Accident No Longer Waiting To Happen!