Small credit union leaders have taken it upon themselves to band together and try to push back against the trend of mergers and acquisitions.
Three years ago, Joy Cousminer, president/CEO of $32 million asset Bethex Federal Credit Union, Bronx, N.Y., helped start an organization called We Care for Credit Unions.
"We watched what was going on with anger and fear,” Cousminer says. “As each credit union disappeared we said, ‘soon, we will be next.’ "
The alliance, which includes more than 30 New York metropolitan-area credit unions, brings credit union leaders together to collaborate. The organization is seeking 501c3 status to be able to work as a nonprofit that can receive donations.
Small credit unions must fight to stay alive—and they need to do so together, Cousminer says.
"Remember how hard it was to get your charter? That is how hard you are going to have to fight to keep your charter now," Cousminer says.
The NCUA’s final field-of-membership rule was published Wednesday, making it effective Feb. 6. The rule, finalized by the NCUA board in October, facilitates consumer access to credit unions and provides credit unions with more flexibility.