A Perspective On Credit Union Leadership & Human Nature

“It’s probably been happening in the ranks of American business since the first corner office was built, the first board was elected and the first regulatory body was created.  But the unceremonious departure of well-known chief executives is also occurring a lot more frequently in the CU movement, lately.

“These are people you know, or at least know something about.  You see them at national credit union conferences.  They are the ones who have their photos in the program book because they are on the board of the sponsoring group or are speakers.  They are the first ones to the floor microphones to challenges speakers.  They write articles and have articles written about them.  Their credit unions are also in the press a lot for innovations and achievement.

But they are gone.  Not because they wanted to leave, either.  Boards asked them to resign or fired them.  Regulators asked them to sept down.  Officers of the law escorted them into custody.  Staff pressures forced them out.  Some simply couldn’t cut it any more.  Some left kicking and screaming.  Others left quietly, never to be seen or heard from again.

“It seems a shame that a long and apparently successful career ends with a headline, factual story and mug shot in the press.  It happens to corporate titans all the time. But we’re talking about credit union people here.   They’re supposed to be different, but I guess they really aren’t. . . Although the reasons for departure vary greatly, it is apparent that one more sign of the growth and maturity of the credit union industry is that the “here today and gone tomorrow” syndrome is alive and well. . .

“Collectively the moral of their stories should be to acknowledge when you are doing something that could be viewed as a questionable business practice and stop it immediately.  CU CEO’s and for that matter their boards, don’t have to be rocket scientists to understand that eventually, hefty insider loans, conflict of interest . . . transactions, or sweetheart compensation packages are going to get them in trouble and into the unemployment line at beast and the appropriate jailhouse at worst.  . .

“Who’ll be next?  I suspect some out there already know who and why, too!”


(Source:  by Mike Welch, Editor and Publisher, Credit Union Times, April 22, 1992, Page 6)



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