Not just words

There is an individual who daily expresses in words his feelings about credit unions, regulations, banks, CFPB, NCUA and for that matter, anything that may strike his fancy.

Some of his commentaries are humorous and some are reflective and right on point. Others are so far off the beaten path that one wonders what he can possibly be talking about. His weekend remarks usually read like ones transmitted from outer space.

He sometimes goes by the name Sweet Baby but he has been called everything from a knowledgeable spokesperson for the credit union industry, a competent CEO, a credit union advocate or just a plain old sob. But whatever people may call him, he continues to express his views and ideas that many may not agree with, but listen to intently.

Occasionally he will challenge the directives of regulators and suggest alternative ways to improve what is being proposed. As a result, some may look upon him as a maverick or someone who just does not like being told what to do.

Criticism like that might be deserved if the person was a gadfly, an inept CEO or just someone who likes to criticize. But in this case, all those labels do not apply and are far from the truth.

Aside from his early morning writings, he is also responsible for running one of the largest credit unions in the country. He does that in an efficient manner and with the philosophy that the purpose of a credit union is to be responsive to the needs of its members and to provide them with the best financial services possible. His dedication to those principles is without question.

When you are responsible for the operation of a financial institution with assets in excess of 28 billion dollars, has a membership of over 1.9 million people, has over 255 branches and a presence in every county of the state it operates in, offers its members every conceivable product, constantly seeks to improve what they do and puts in place methods and policies to protect the credit union before they are required to do so, you are far ahead of the pack and clearly know what you are doing.

Living in the woods of North Carolina, listening to the dueling banjos on your I-Pod and reading proposed CFPB and NCUA regulations would take its toll on anyone. To be able to do all that and also run a top rated credit union must mean you possess magical powers or are just good at what you do.

So while talk is cheap, being able to take the words you speak and back them up with action that others can only admire, is priceless.

You are good for the industry Jim Blaine.

Michael Fryzel

Michael Fryzel

Michael Fryzel is the former Chairman of the National Credit Union Administration and is now a financial services consultant and government affairs attorney in Chicago. He can be reached at ... Details