Saturday, January 20, 2024

SECU: Consider This: Chapter 2 - The Difference Is Real!   SECU is different!

Alright so we're off to a slow start; hope you'll hang in there a bit.

If we can agree that a credit union is uniquely different from a bank, then there may be some ground for us to discuss why SECU should not be operated as a bank. But we need to agree (or not!) first that "There is a Difference", okay? 

If SECU is just some sort of weird, "non-profit bank", then who cares? "If it looks like a duck (bank!), walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it just might be a duck." So, is SECU uniquely different or not? 

Lets' look at the three questions from Chapter 1 [link]. First, hope we can all agree that, much like a unicorn, there is no such animal as a "non-profit bank" - that's just a silly idea!.

Banks are organized for a purpose - to buy and sell money at a profit. The owners/investors in a bank expect to receive a return/dividend/gain/profit from their investment. Like any other for-profit enterprise, banking is a business; it's not a hobby, nor some sort of "Save the Whales" idealistic venture. Success in banking is defined by "the bottom line" - how much profit the bank makes for its investor/owners. Banking is a hard-nosed, sophisticated, analytical,"take no prisoners " business. 

There is no question that the original concept/structure of a credit union was decidedly different from that of a bank. How do you know that's true? Because the founders of credit unions clearly stated a different set of rules, principles and purposes when designing this new, non-profit financial cooperative. Legislators agreed there was a difference, enacting a separate, distinct set of laws. Tax officials also recognized the difference granting tax exemptions at both the state and federal level; membership was limited, not open to the general public. Everyone knew there was a difference, in the beginning.

That question about whether anything is unique is a little more complex and comes with a problem - a root, core problem for SECU. Yes, there are unique things in life, like snowflakes as a reader noted. In fact, if you really look closely, everything in life is unique isn't it - including you! [Think about that sentence one more time before you move on.]

But, we have a tendency of viewing the world in terms of groups, categories, by common characteristics. We even have developed the bad habit of grouping and profiling people - by race, by gender, by nationality, by religion, by political opinion, by "social status", ... and these days by "tiers" at SECU. In real life, we most often think in terms of snow, rather than snowflakes, don't we. 

So, brief recap: 1) Are there unique things in life? - yes; 2) Are credit unions banks ? - not as originally created; 3) Is there any such thing as a "non-profit bank"? - no, not unless you believe in unicorns. 

😎 Alright, blah, blah, blah what's the point? Most of the SECU membership, many SECU employees, and all of the "Legacy 8 Board members" don't understand the differences between a bank and a credit union.  That's creating a lot of problems now, with many more coming in the future. That's not a good thing for members, employees, and the future health of SECU - the potential squandering of a valuable asset for North Carolina out of ignorance?

If we're not all on the same page when talking about SECU as a credit union, we may be talking over, under, and around each other. Talking about different concepts and principles - never able to agree, because we understand the phrase "credit union" differently. 

Want an easy example of how people can misunderstand a word? Take a look at the "I Love Football" pic above. Did you read that as "American football" or soccer? Makes a world of difference doesn't it! Not exactly the same games are they? Neither are banks and credit unions... 

But the problem is greater than you think...

... its called "The Kleenex Dilemma". But that's for tomorrow...