You can't make this stuff up.

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Governor, did you see today’s Post Crescent yet?

They get that there’s no room for policy and pork in this budget. In fact, they got it from you.

One’s a picture of naïveté. The other, deceit.

I like Cory Mason.  But he’s naïve when it comes to the issue of the credit union conversion language in the Budget Bill.  I don’t like Robin Vos. He’s rude, an egotist and lying when he says the credit union-to-a-bank conversion language is no big deal. Besides – having an account at a credit union doesn’t make you an expert. Especially when it’s not your primary financial institution. Kind of like being an NRA member and the only gun you own is hanging above the fireplace in your library.

Banker power grab legislation STILL in the budget

The budget amendment conceived and introduced to Joint Finance by the Wisconsin Bankers Association made it out of the Assembly and on to the Senate today.  The Senate won’t make any changes because they don’t want to send it back to the Assembly. That means we’ll have to rely on the Governor to veto the anti-credit union provision. And that means we need people to contact their legislators and ask them to send a letter to Govenror Walker asking for the veto. A number of Republican representatives have already sent letters and that helps.  

I just got off a radio interview with someone from WBA. They claim credit unions came to them with this request (they wouldn’t share who.)  I’ll be honest, as with any industry, there are always a few greedy managers and board members who see dollar signs and want a streamlined process by which to get to those dollars,  That’s what this provision allows — credit unions to convert to a bank without including their member-owners in the decision to do so.  My credit union doesn’t support this crap and neither does the overwhelming majority of credit unions in Wisconsin. If our member-owners choose to convert they can do so via two methods outlined clearly in the statutes. But banks and greedy credit union managers don’t want members to know what they’re up to. And THAT is what this all about.

Call your legislator. Tell them to send a note to the Governor asking him to veto the credit union conversion language.

Oh, by the way, our friends at the Cooperative Network sent out another update to their members today. They along with the Wisconsin Farmers Union have been very supportive in this fight.

Contact_6-17-11.pdf Download this file

Jun 9

Taking our eye off the ball with interchange

I know this will piss-off more than a few of my credit union brethren but here goes:  I’m glad the Senate finally put a stake through the credit card/debit card interchange issue. I realize there are lots of small credit unions out there with credit card/debit card programs who are going to struggle with the new interchange limits.  Interchange is that complicated formula by which everyone assesses a fee on a transaction – the merchant’s bank, the credit card company, the financial (credit union) who issued the card.  And,  yes, this will affect my credit union, more importantly, our members, because we’ll probably end up eliminating free checking accounts or raising fees.  We’ll have to do something to make up for the money we shell out when some merchant doesn’t follow security rules and has their debit/credit card system hacked and we have to issue new credit/debit cards. Used to be our interchange fee income went towards that.  Used to be we could charge what we wanted for an interchange fee. Now we can’t.  And now, one way or the other, consumers will pay.

So why am I glad we lost? Two reasons, really.  One, I never liked being on the same side of an issue as the big banks.  We have nothing philosophically in common.  Kind of like Scott Walker and Labor Day. Trying to explain why credit unions agree with banks on anything is not something I enjoy.  But the real reason I’m glad the Senate voted against delaying the Federal Reserve’s interchange rule is because maybe now our industry can focus on a “better widget”  and not try and hang on to an old system that’s broke – that would be the current debit card and credit card system. After literally months of wringing our hands over interchange can we knuckle down and try and find a better way? 

Jack Dorsey did.  Jack Dorsey got Square.  I think a few years from now Jack Dorsey could have us looking back on today and wondering why we spent so much effort and political capital on interchange. 

What do you think?

Looking for a sponsor

Later this week I will be writing legislation which will allow a bank to convert to a credit union.  Only thing necessary will be a coupon from the Sunday paper.  Any coupon.  But it can’t be expired. I’ll need a sponsor but I figure I have Mark Pocan or Dan LeMehieu as a go-to just in case.

 

PS:  Don’t tell anyone. I’m doing this behind closed doors, in secret.

 

Yea, what HE said …

Brett Thompson is President/CEO of the Wisconsin Credit Union League — the statewide trade association for credit unions.  Mr. Thompson explains eloquently the latest antics by the anti-consumer Wisconsin Bankers Association and why their attack on credit unions should be stopped in its tracks by Governor Walker. 

Honestly — doesn’t the WBA have their hands full spinning PR for their bailed-out bank members, some of whom have still not paid back the TARP dollars we dolled out?

Update: Wisconsin Bankers Association attack on credit unions

The Joint Finance Committee passed the legislative amendment making it easier for credit unions to convert to a bank today on a 12-4 vote.  This same thing happened a couple years ago when the Wisconsin Bankers Association persuaded an ignorant Democrat to introduce anti-credit union legislation without even a heads up to credit unions. The legislation made it all the way to Governor Doyle and, thankfully, he vetoed it.  With the way things have been going it’s anybody’s guess what will happen this time around.  The only certainty is that credit unions will be working hard the next couple of weeks to beat back – once again – legislation that eliminates and/or limits a pretty popular alternative to a for profit bank. The stinky thing of it all is it’s legislation negotiated and drafted in secret by the Wisconsin Bankers Association without any notice or input from credit unions.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Back-door stab at credit unions

Watch/listen to the Joint Finance Committee today at 11am to find out if the Wisconsin Bankers Association’s back-door attack on credit unions moves out of committee.  WBA has proposed an amendment which essentially makes it easy for credit union managers/boards of directors to convert to a bank without involving those who matter most … their member-owners. Why would the Wisconsin Bankers Association want that?  Because they don’t like credit unions. 

Oh, and legislators on the JFC – Wisconsin’s 2.2 million credit union member-owners will be watching.  They’ll be watching how you vote today.

Dear Wisconsin Bankers Association:

Word on the street is that the WBA is – for the second time in two years – trying to eliminate credit union competition. You have to give them credit for creativity – this is how they do it:  draw up legislation that makes it easier for a credit union to convert to a bank by restricting input from the credit union’s member-owners on a possible conversion. The WBA would like it left to management and the board of directors. If the WBA had their way, they’d cut the member-owners out of the decision completely.

Let’s be honest here – on rare occasions credit union managers and directors lose sight of the core mission of credit unions and start thinking with their wallets instead about what is best for their member-owners.  That is why ALL member-owners need to be involved in a decision to terminate their member-owned financial cooperative, a credit union guided by a board of directors elected by its members. Especially if it’s going to be turned into a for-profit bank guided by stockholders and a generally well-compensated board of directors.

So, Wisconsin Bankers Association – butt out of the business of credit unions.  When you submit your Budget Bill amendments to the Joint Finance Committee tomorrow (Thursday), leave out any mention of credit unions’ direct conversion from a credit union to a bank.

With all the “love” we’ve heard lately for banks around the state, one would think your plate is pretty full. Credit Unions and our trade association, The Wisconsin Credit Union League, can take care of our 2.2 million member-owners in Wisconsin. You can stick to taking care of bank owners.

Imitation: the sincerest form of flattery

Non-profit organizations can’t get enough exposure. They do so much for so many. That’s why Heartland Credit Union spent a year helping nonprofits in southern Wisconsin tell their stories. And why Heartland Credit Union is giving $10,000 to the nonprofit chosen by the community.

Imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery and if you’re going to actually give some love and money to an area nonprofit, you can do whatever you want. Just don’t call it Go Local – that’s where you’ll start to look a little weird.