Monday, April 17, 2023

H. 410 - "Credit Union Updates" - The Alice-In-Wonderland Bill - "Unlimited" Misdirection!

Alice-in-Wonderland [Alice works for CCUL], pictured here carrying H. 410 over to the State Legislature....“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?" [Just like H. 410!  Love, Alice!]

 😜 From Alice at the Carolinas' Credit Union League: H. 410 "shall limit" membership in North Carolina credit unions to 1) anybody can join and 2) any corporation can join. That's all, no more, no less. Any and all others shall be excluded.


North Carolina was one of the first states in the Country to pass legislation authorizing the formation of credit unions. That was in 1915! [No, get off that age discrimination... I was not there!]

In that original 1915 legislation the definition of who could join a credit union stated: "The membership of a credit union shall be limited to...". Fast forward to 2023 and H. 410 says: "54.109.26 Membership defined.  (a) The membership of a credit union shall be limited to..."
So great!  H. 410 maintains the original concept and principle - dating from 1915! - that North Carolina credit unions would be organized as limited membership cooperatives - and not as public corporations - right? No, unfortunately Alice and the CCUL are trying to hoodwink you. They are hoping you aren't paying attention - are you?
By the way, that limited membership structure was not an afterthought, nor was it optional. As most folks understand, when the law says "shall be" - it means exactly that - no if's, and's, or but's! North Carolina Legislators - from the beginning - have believed that having sound limits on credit unions enhances their benefit to North Carolinians and helps assure their success. History has proved those leaders wise - and right. text of H. 410 [which you can find on the H. 410 Tracking page - see 4/12/2023 post]  includes a few "minor" changes like adding the letter "s" (the same sound a snake makes "s-s-s-s"!) all over the place.  Which by the time you add up common bonds, members, individuals, persons, employees, families, groups, societies, partnerships, corporations, business entities, female bears living in Smokey Mountain National Park, and low income, under-served alligators mucking around in the Dismal Swamp - ain't nobody left out!
For folks trained to read between the lines,  that historically sound, "shall be limited to" phrase  becomes farce... and North Carolina legislators have just been sucker punched by the CCUL... and led by "Alice" down a rabbit hole!
...wouldn't want to be around when Representatives Howard and Bell start asking some pointed questions! I'd duck...

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.