Yet Another Crisis

At the very start of my credit union career I was working as a teller at IBM Mid-Atlantic Federal Credit Union. Our credit union served, among others, IBM’s Federal Systems division. In 1993 IBM agreed to sell that division to Loral in a deal worth $1.57B. By 1994 Loral was laying off people, most of them in our field of membership. As a treasured resource for IBM’ers, the credit union was a place where frustrations with the sale and its aftermath were often shared – as were fears about future employment.

I’ve told this story for years, often including it whenever I am asked to give my bio. (Funny, but some believe it isn’t really true. It is.). Why do I share that story? Because it is a story of credit union – and member – resilience. The credit union, facing a threat, responded with very member-friendly initiatives to reassure the membership, often in contrast to business management norms. And members, feeling the support from “their” credit union, remained loyal even though, for them, the IBM name was fairly tarnished.

That was a crisis for the credit union and its members. Yet both survived, and the credit union remains a force today as Mid-Atlantic FCU.

Crises and threats to the credit union community have come and gone. The field of membership lawsuit, the dot com meltdown, the everlasting fight against income tax exemption, 9/11, corporate crashes (Enron, WorldCom), the Great Recession, corporate credit union system failures and share insurance recapitalization, incredibly low interest rates (10-Year Treasury, FedFunds) – to name a few. And now, COVID-19 and near economic panic.

So it has gone throughout my credit union career. One crisis after another. And yet, credit unions and their members remain, in cooperative partnership despite it all.

We’ll get through this. The credit union community, its millions of dedicated and loyal members, its network of vendors and partners, is strong. The industry is healthy, well-capitalized, well-provisioned against loan losses, and ready with seasoned experience in working with distressed borrowers. And it maintains its heart for members and member service.

We’re Here If You Need Us

We have faith in you, credit union leaders. We know you’ll ensure your credit unions stand strong for the benefit and support of members. That you’ll make the right decisions for your memberships. But know that if you need help, need an ear to bend, a resource to hear out your concerns and frustrations, we’re here for you.

And who are we?

I’m Tom Glatt, Jr. I started my credit union consulting career in 1995. All of those cataclysmic threats I noted occurred during my time as a consultant. Sometimes I’ve been an active participant in helping credit unions devise response strategy. Other times I’ve simply been a confidant, a trusted friend, willing to listen.

And my business partner, Matt Griffiths, while not a credit union lifer like me, has nonetheless also lived through these same moments of crises in other industries – notably in publishing and in manufacturing, two industries greatly transformed by the many existential threats listed above. His experience making firm decisions in the face of corporate uncertainty, specifically in Human Resources and finance, is exceptional.

Matt and I have experience working through the worst to get to the best. We’re here to listen, and to share, if you need us.

Tom Glatt, Jr.

You can reach the office at (888) 217-5988. Tom is at extension 801, and Matt at extension 802.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: