NY Times Opinion Sparked My Interest

Hi folks,

I read our local paper, the Newark Advocate, every single afternoon. It’s just a habit, I’m usually pretty busy in the mornings, so that’s when I get around to the paper. There was a recent article on the OPINION page, posted on Tuesday, August 26th, it was taken from the New York Times, and it captured my attention. It was entitledUntil the Financial System Reformed, We Should Be Angry”  you can read a copy of the opinion article here: http://tinyurl.com/mo4s7m.

I wrote a response to the article and sent it in to the Newark Advocate, but I thought it was important to share it with you here as well. Credit unions aren’t part of the financial system  problem, we’re part of the solution. You can see my response down below, just some food for thought- and I welcome all comments.



My opinion article-

After reading the recent Guest Opinion article titled, Until Financial System Reformed, We Should Be Angry, from the New York Times, on the opinion page in the Tuesday, August 25th edition of the Newark Advocate, I decided I’d like to take this opportunity to respond.

Now is the time, to turn to America’s best kept secret of the financial world, and folks, that’s a credit union? Yes, I am the President and CEO of Hopewell Federal, but I’ve also been a part of the credit union industry for more than 40 years, and I can safely say, that we have not been a part of the banking problem, we are a part of the solution. Credit unions are strong, safe and secure. They’re member-owned. That means that you won’t see any golden parachute retirement packages or stock options here.  In fact, after we pay bills to keep the lights etc. and set reserves aside, we can offer our members lower rates and fees on most financial products, because we don’t have stockholders. As a member- owner, you become one of the owners of the financial cooperative. You can even run for a board of director’s position, if you so desire because credit unions elect their board members from within their own membership. We even own our own credit card portfolios so that we can manage them ourselves and continue to offer better rates that make sense and lower fees that won’t gouge your wallet.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of credit unions. Yes, it’s hard to believe but we have been around for that long and still struggle for our voices to be heard. Typically, to join a credit union you have to meet one of the requirements of their field of membership, whether that’s the place you work or the community where you live. We have several credit unions in Licking County that you could choose to join. And I’m proud to say that we all work cooperatively together. While we may not be as big as some banks, you can use our shared branching service and do your banking at any of them, for free. Let’s face it, sometimes ATM charges can really add up if you’re not at your own institution and that’s another convenience we all offer to our members. Plus, three credit unions in our area, Harvest, Fiberglass and Hopewell Federal are participating in Bet You Can Save.com. It’s a contest where 10 central Ohio credit unions chose a family to coach and help save money. The contest takes places over five months and the winning family receives $10,000. The runner up families will receive $500. But more importantly, we’re teaching them how to get ahead financially.

While the New York Times article does not mention credit unions in the midst of this financial mess, there have been many media reports including a recent post in the New York Times, Economix blog that tout credit unions as superheroes. While we may not wear capes, we’d sure like to be the financial superheroes in your life. So don’t waste time being angry, do something about it. I invite you to compare your current rates, products and services to the credit unions that serve Licking County; you may find the difference surprising.

 Al Smith
President & CEO
Hopewell Federal Credit Union


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