Filson encourages credit unions and their members to sign WhiteHouse.gov petition.
by Jimmy Marks
On Monday morning, just as the CUNA Government Affairs Conference (GAC) was getting underway, Chip Filson, Chairman of Callahan & Associates, Inc. was gathering a crowd of CU professionals for a press conference. As the room quickly filled and places were taken in chairs and along the walls of the meeting room, Filson announced a new vision for the NCUA and for credit unions - a vision based on the seven cooperative principles. Filson's proposal would encourage the administration to allow credit unions to have a say in which individuals would be selected for open NCUA board seats.
From the Press Release that accompanied the conference:
"The cooperative design is foundational to the success of credit unions and their member-owners. Yet there is widespread concern that the Agency is not practicing cooperative solutions," Filson said. "How can credit unions fulfill their special role in providing Americans with real choices for their financial wellbeing if a cooperative regulatory perspective is lacking?"
Filson called on all attendees - and, in turn, all credit unions and credit union members - to sign a petition on the White House public petitions website, asking the Obama Administration to fill upcoming NCUA board-seat vacancies with "leaders who understand the shared economic value for people and communities created by the Cooperative model". As of this writing, the petition has received 549 signatures and needs 99,451 more to be considered formally by the White House. The 100,000 signature benchmark must be met by March 26, 2013 for the petition to be considered.
When asked whether or not the petition would hold any real significance, Filson seemed adamant that the petition itself was an important example of the openness of governance and leadership, whether the 100,000 signature goal is met or not. NCUA board members are currently appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
Filson's release also served as his declaration of candidacy for the upcoming board seat. Planks in Filson's platform include:
- Reestablishing cooperative principles as the foundation for the credit union regulatory system
- Providing credit union members and leaders an opportunity to demonstrate their support for leadership based on the cooperative principles
- Advancing the vision of a 21st century cooperative regulator.
Filson has a long history of working with credit unions, CUSOs and other finance-based businesses. Between the years of 1981 and 1985, Filson served as the Director of the Office of Examination and Insurance and the CEO of NCUSIF for the NCUA. He was a co-founder of Callahan & Associates, an organization he now serves as Chairman, and sits on the board of several organizations, including DigitalMailer, the owners and operators of this blog.
Remarks and response in the conference room were positive, with some mild confusion about the tone of the message and how to best convey the sum of the ideas expressed to credit unions and their members. Simply put (at least from the writer's viewpoint) - credit unions should want to have a hand in choosing the people that regulate them and the direction the NCUA takes in the future. Members should understand a desire to use a democratic process to choose their leaders - it's a part of the American experience.
If you're interested in the petition or the finer points of Filson's campaign, go to www.coopsforchange.org.
How do you feel about a more cooperatively-minded NCUA? If not Filson, who should take the seat, if credit unions get to choose? Talk to us in the comment section.