Board behaving badly

I continue to monitor with great interest, the battle going on over DFCU Financial Federal Credit Union’s proposed conversion to a mutual savings bank and the attempt to remove the current Board of Directors. The current Board and management have an “official” website called Save DFCU, while the opposition, called DFCU Owners United, have their own site called Save My Credit Union.

My first inkling that there was something fishy going on at this credit union came when I heard about their name change. They were originally known as Dearborn Federal Credit Union, a perfectly respectable name. Dearborn is synonymous with Ford Motor Company, and therefore also with the Detroit area’s proud automotive heritage. A couple of years ago, in the name of a “re-branding” effort, the credit union changed its name to “DFCU Financial Federal Credit Union.” This is an extremely puzzling and perplexing name change. Why would you take the former initials (Dearborn Federal Credit Union) and put them into a name which still incorporates the words from which those initials come from (i.e. Federal Credit Union). Why would you go from a four-word name to a five-word name?

Well, the answer came when the board and management applied to convert the institution to become a mutual savings bank. They wanted to become known simply as “DFCU Financial”. They wanted to run away from their heritage as a credit union, from a proud history of more than fifty years of putting their members’ needs first.

Fortunately, the number of signatures obtained on the petition to keep the institution as a credit union has convinced the board to withdraw their application to become a bank.

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6 Responses to “Board behaving badly”

  1. Morriss Partee Says:

    One comment that suggests to me that the board and management are not acting in the members’ best interest is that they are keeping secrets about the organization. On the FAQ page for the current management and board, they state that there are certain documents that they have withheld from the opposition because “It is reasonable, responsible and common business practice to have people sign confidentiality agreements when reviewing proprietary business information.”

    What proprietary information does management hold that it doesn’t want the public to see? Is is the strategy and future direction of the credit union? Shouldn’t that information be public anyway? If I were a member of the group who didn’t want the credit union to become a bank, I also would not sign any agreement that limited my ability to communicate to others what I know about the credit union. So I applaud them for sticking to their principles.

  2. Morriss Partee Says:

    Trey Reeme of Trabian has a take on this situation on the Open Source CU blog, outlining the similiarities between the original “Save Our CU” website, and the website created by management in response to it.

  3. Trey Reeme Says:

    Morriss, Thanks for the shout-out! Good point on their rebranding effort before the conversion attempt. If they’d have kept the name “DFCU Financial” it would have always hinted at their credit union roots.

    ViewPoint Bank is just as direct. Living in Plano, Texas, I frequently pass a ViewPoint billboard touting something similar to “Attention of a credit union. Resources of a bank.”

  4. Morriss Partee Says:

    I once read an article about ViewPoint in CU Times and saw pix of their billboards… that is so funny and ironic it makes me cry….. such a shame….

  5. Morriss Partee Says:

    If you are a credit union professional, and not already a member of EverythingCU.com,, then what are you waiting for? There is more discussion there on this subject, and thousands of others, in the industry’s most active and best discussion. Registration is quick, free, and easy!

    Here are some additional articles about Credit Unions attempting to become banks. Some have successfully converted, others have been thwarted.

    Credit Union in Controversy: All about Columbia CU’s attempt to convert in the state of Washington

    Two Texas CUs that converted to banks

    Bankers, CUs Square Off: View from D.C. about the debate

  6. Myra Dwyer Says:

    We keep up with all the “happenings” on credit unions converting to banks also. A very good source to get current information is the Credit Union Times. It is a weekly magazine and has excellent information. You also go to http://www.cutimes.com to get an online version.

    Most credit unions probably get the magazine but may not pass it on to all employees. I enjoy reading it each week to keep up with current news.

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