Tuesday, January 2, 2024

SECU: "In Good Faith"? ... Not Passing Muster Under Anyone's Measure...

  Way passed time to put this one to rest with a simple "I'm sorry, I apologize." Has now festered into a question of reputation, character and leadership... easy to resolve for a true leader. 

[Ms. Brady's quote:

“… Let me be clear on that group of members; 28 of those 32 were SECU retirees,” said Brady. “These were members where Blaine gave them a sheet of paper and said ‘You read this.’ And gave the next one a sheet of paper and said, ‘Now you read this.’ They were holding papers where Blaine gave them talking points. And they were supposed to stand up during the comment section and read their comments.” Brady said she knows for a fact that is what occurred." ]

 ✅ Letter to CEO Leigh Brady - 12/24/2023

Response from the Annual meeting - Julian Hawes  Dec. 24, 2023

I think that we have two different definitions of “good faith” referred to in your response to the comments at the annual meeting. [Ms. Brady's statement: "
My good faith understanding that one party drafted comments for speakers to deliver at our Annual Meeting was incorrect."] Was it “good faith” that I sent two written requests to you for a response only to have them ignored for a couple of weeks?  The only way I could elicit a response was to retain an attorney.  The response came back more as an explaination as to why the remarks were made.  It also included a definition of your responsibilities.  It should have been a heart felt apology without qualifications, straight up, no tip toeing around an admission.  That would have been the easiest and simplest thing to do. As of this date the only response I have had was a call from my attorney after he had a phone conversation with the credit union’s interim general council. The response was to authorize my attorney to send me a copy of Leigh’s letter to the publisher and a copy of the published article.  At least I got a response. 

How many of the 32 speakers received a copy of the response unsolicited?  I can appreciate your responsibilities to the board and the organization; however, I believe your highest priority is to the members above all else.

The more this issue lingers the wider the divide gets and the more it erodes trust.  I’ve had several long term members (non employee) communicate with me concerning the direction of the credit union, its reputation, and its mission. One common thread in all of these conversations is the feeling of the loss of their input for the direction of the credit union.  In addition, they felt that trust was slowly disipating on a daily basis.  One even commented that if we loose groups of members, then all we have left is a second rate bank without anything special to differentiate us from the industry standard.  I believe that to be true.

Thank you for your time.
Julian Hawes

✅ From: PLAUT, CATHY <CATHY.PLAUT@ncsecu.org>
Sent: Monday, December 18, 2023 3:22 PM
To: Jeff Hutchins <jeff@jhutchlaw.com>
Subject: SECU - Julian Hawes

Hi Jeff –

Thank you for speaking with me today.

I have attached an email that Leigh Brady sent to Frank Diekmann with CU Times and the article that was published. 

Feel free to share these with Mr. Hawes.

Please let me know if you have any questions.


Cathleen M. Plaut

Interim General Counsel


✅ Letter to CEO Brady December 16, 2023 

Ms. Brady,
I understand you have published a retraction to Jean Blaine [see comment below 1/3 @12:37pm], but I have yet to receive a response, retraction nor apology.  If you intend the article to be your only answer, would you please send your response to me and to each speaker personally so that I can be assured all have received it.  If you will do that immediately, I and the others will consider the matter closed.  If not, then I will forward my request to my attorney.

Thank you for prompt attention to this matter.
Julian Hawes

 ✅ Letter from Lawyer for Mr. Hawes - December 11, 2023

Original letter from Julian Hawes - Speaker at Annual Meeting - October 21, 2023

To: Mr. Chris Ayers, Chairman, 

SECU Board of Directors, October 21, 2023

I am writing this email to request your thoughts on Mrs. Brady’s quote in CUToday about my attending and expressing my concerns as a member/owner.

It is a complete misrepresentation of what transpired. I do admit that I am a 20 year retiree of the credit union and I worked with SECU in Goldsboro for 30 years. I came to the annual meeting to do two things: (1) to support a member/candidate that I have known for 45 years. Mr. Stone has served as an advisory board member and a loan review committee member. I felt that he would provide much needed grass roots perspectives. I do not think that is a crime to support a candidate that would reflect member values.

(2) The second and most important issue was expressing my opposition to risk based lending. Mr. Blaine nor any one else provided me with talking points or agenda sheets. I was talking from 30 years of grass roots experience in the trenches serving members who were economically challenged and primarily low income. Regardless of circumstances, we treated all our members with the same level and quality of service.
As a result of our policies, the credit union developed generational loyalty and trust from our field of membership. Growth occurred as a natural consequence beyond our wildest dreams. We did not need hoards of marketing gurus to spark growth. Our members did it for us. We are now turning on our most vulnerable members with excessive interest rates they can ill afford. Weren’t these the type of members our original board in 1937 was trying to help avoid loan sharks? We are now the sharks.    

One more question. Are we handcuffed from offering our members higher rates because the prior administration violated a cardinal rule of not investing in long term instruments with short term deposits? How much money do we have invested at 2% or less? What would our capital be if we marked to market values these assets? BTW I can get 5% on a daily money market fund backed by treasuries at my broker. If you want A paper, compare our 1.1% to their 5%

I will close by saying all that glitters is not gold. We need to take care of our members already in the tent before we pitch new ones. 

Respectfully submitted 

Julian Hawes 


...why not just "Nike" this?... y'know, "Do the Right Thing"?