The NCUA board’s decision in late September to retain billions in credit unions’ money for itself when it merges the Temporary Corporate Credit Union Stability Fund (TCCUSF) and the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (SIF) has raised fundamental questions about the viability of an independent cooperative system in America.
Chip Filson On The NCUA
Read Chip Filson’s detailed analysis of the NCUA’s flawed reasoning and realities in its decision to retain billions while returning to credit unions only millions as it merges the corporate bailout fund into the share insurance fund. Filson is Callahan chair and a former NCUA executive who was instrumental in the 1980s redesign of the insurance share fund with cooperative concepts.
The NCUA’s diversion of member money was not about the safety and soundness of the NCUSIF; rather, it confirmed the continuing inability of the agency to heed the fiduciary responsibilities for cooperative management of common wealth that provides the foundation of the credit union system.
It also could easily lead to further blurring the lines between banks and credit unions in the minds of those who don’t understand the importance and special purpose of member-owned, not-for-profit financial institutions.
The future of financial cooperatives, first promoted nationally during the depths of the Great Depression, has never been about their financial viability (after all they begin with no capital), but whether the concept of member-ownership and stewardship of common wealth can be sustained in a society that worships private ownership and capital markets.