12/22/2010 - By Jim Rubenstein
CUNA joined the Michigan Credit Union League Wednesday in sharply criticizing an ad hoc petition circulating online this week calling for what were described as a series of “radical” steps to overhaul NCUA operations.
The petition, advanced by the president/CEO of a Grand Rapids, Mich. CUSO and circulated across the U.S. to CEOs and CUSO leaders, calls for Congressional oversight of the NCUA Board and splitting NCUSIF from the agency among other ideas.
In distributing the five-point petition, Randy Karnes, head of the 90-member CU*Answers, called “real debate" and said, "unless we push for real change, nothing will truly evolve.”
In his petition campaign, Karnes also clashed with the president/CEO of the Michigan League, David Adams, who earlier this week sent out his own letter to Michigan CUs calling Karnes' approach “well meaning” but out of line in bypassing the CUNA/league structure.
A CUNA spokesman said “we fully support Dave Adams and the Michigan League on this issue.”
Adams, in stressing that grassroots lobbying requires a coordinated strategy involving CUSOs and CUs, warned that Karnes' activism might result in “unintended consequences” with lawmakers. If his proposal came to fruition, “we might have two regulatory agencies instead of one and unneeded Congressional scrutiny,” Adams told Credit Union Times. “I applaud Randy Karnes trying to encourage the debate but these proposals are too extreme,” he said.
Expressing anger at Adams' letter and followup communication, Karnes said he and others in CUs and CUSOs across the country are both dumbfounded and upset at the approach of leagues and CUNA in tackling the corporate crisis. “I believe the industry should have mechanisms that turn anger into resolve,” he said.
“Our associations should be able to do more with the energy of the angry. They should see it as a signal to change heat-of-the-moment disappointment in the NCUA into changes that will avoid our being disappointed again in the future,”
He added that CUs “are disappointed in the fact that there is no real hope that the solutions of the future will yield anything other than disappointment should our voices go on unheard.”