Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Should Credit Unions Disclose Material Events?

On October 31, 2014, the University of Wisconsin Credit Union issued a press release stating it took an investment loss contingency charge of $13.1 million against year-to-date earnings due to an investment in fraudulent USDA guaranteed loans.

I think we would all agree that a $13.1 million contingency charge is a material event.

I also believe the credit union did the right thing in disclosing this material event, even though it did not have to disclose this information.

However, such disclosures of material events are very rare from credit unions.

But shouldn't credit union members be made aware of events that may adversely impact the credit union?

After all, credit unions claim their members are owners. And owners have a right to know if their credit union has been affected by a material event.


  1. Members are not owners. They're depositors and borrowers.
    Don't tell Bucky.
    They don't attend annual meetings, they don't vote or run for board seats. They don't hold the board accountable.
    They deposit with government backed insurance, so it's a deposit, not an investment.
    When a member closes her account she doesn't get her share of the capital.
    "Don't taze (tax) me bro".
    THATS the only credit union mission.

  2. They can attend annual meetings.

    They can vote.

    They can run for board seats.

    And yes, they should hold the BD accountable.

    1. They can, but they don't. They don't by HUGE percentages every year, every credit union.
      They are not owners.

    2. The same holds true for the common shareholders of most publicly traded companies. Using your logic, shareholders have no ownership since they seldom vote. You seem to not comprehend the fact that choosing not to vote is very different from not having the right to vote. Perhaps your board and management can invest more time and resources engaging your members and encouraging their participation, and less time on this site bashing the credit union structure.

    3. Typical selective Cuna-type logic.
      The very huge difference being the shareholder has invested money that is "at risk" and can and does act as an owner when they buy more or sell.
      Cu members don't own the cu in ANY manner whatsoever.

    4. You really should get some help with regard to your CUNA obsession. Please follow the link and tell me again how members are not owners.

    5. There is a difference between having the right to vote, choosing not to vote and not knowing about your right to vote. Some CU's only disclose the bare minimum about voting rights. The members are not aware of the their right and the default is the CU then chooses the BOD members.

      NCUA rules state the lessor of 1% or 500 members must sign a petition for a member to appear on the ballot; however, typically only 15 people need to be present for a quorum. In other words, for larger CU's it is extremely difficult to get on the ballot but extremely easy to confirm who wins (i.e. is appointed).

      This appears to be the preferred method by the largest CU's especially considering most of them were founded by 6 or 8 people (It takes 500 petitioners today). This is certainly by regulatory design - not by accident.

      So, yes, the right to vote is extremely important - but only effective and relevant if people know about it.

  3. Follow this.
    They own nothing.

    1. It appears the members of Technology Credit Union feel otherwise. Please don't apply the failure of you and your credit union to engage your members to those of us that have successfully done so.

  4. Ouch. The CUNA-obsessed guy should probably sit the next few plays out.

  5. ouch. how many members attended your last 5 annual meetings and what was that as a % of total membership? 2%
    when the last 5 members closed their accounts at your credit union, how much of their capital did you give them? 0?
    how many members ran for (whatever) open board seats in the last 3 "elections"?
    ouch, guess you better wake up, look in the mirror and repeat after me- "im either an employee of cuna or part of the problem or both".
    your "owners" have been sitting out every play of every game for all seasons since filene.

    1. Although somewhat entertaining, your childish banter and CUNA obsession are much too annoying for me to continue with this debate. I’ve presented you with a credit union whose members prevented a bank conversion via their vote and can cite many more examples demonstrating members’ ownership in their credit union, up to and including liquidation rights, but to what end? You only see things the way you want to, regardless of any proof to the contrary. I’m comfortable knowing that at our credit union, we engage our members, educate them on their rights and encourage their participation, perhaps your credit union should do the same. In the meantime, here’s a little challenge for you. The next time you’re up for reelection, please share with your members your views as expressed here, and encourage any who view things differently to oppose you. Maybe you can go so far as to have your Nominating Committee find someone to run against you. Of course you’d have to engage your members and fully disclose your take on credit unions: ownership, taxation, etc., in the bios you send out with the ballot. Then, let your members decide whether or not they have a say in their credit union. I look forward to hearing the results.



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