July 24, 2012

TechCU conversion – Vote No [Not Snarky]

Let’s take a pause from examining the joys and wonderment of Real Bay Areal Real Estate, and look at a serious issue.

If you are a TechCU customer, you will soon be asked to vote on whether you want to convert the bank to… well… a bank. Or to keep it as is.

I’ve read through the literature, and I can’t seem to find any good reason on why this conversion should happen.

Worse yet, the phone calls, the literature, the raffle for free iPads for voting (seriously??) have all left a bad taste in my mouth.

You’re free to do whatever you want to do, but I’m planning on voting no on the conversion.

Here’s some more reasons why:


Comments (15) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:26 am

15 Responses to “TechCU conversion – Vote No [Not Snarky]”

  1. madhaus Says:

    For those of you who think burbed and I are the same person, here’s some more grist for your mill. I am also a member of Tech CU, and I am also voting no. They’re pushing this far too hard. Somebody is going to make a lot of money off this deal, but it sure won’t benefit the members.

    We’ll return to crap housing and crap selling of housing tomorrow. Today you can complain about credit unions and the banks this one would aspire to.

  2. SEA Says:

    How can we have true Bay Area IPO innovation without the switch?

  3. nomadic Says:

    Funny how the headline has to say it isn’t snarky.

  4. gallileo Says:

    It’s all about ambition. What makes a bank or a credit union great? If you are the management, it’s the deposits in hand, and the size of the loan book and the number of customers.

    Problem is, TechCU has pretty much topped out in its current structure..

    If it wants to get bigger, then it needs to be able to do more commercial lending and things of that ilk. To someone on the board, or running it, that is what you want.

    But that approach is really myopic–smallness is very much an asset to the individual credit-union member. Not so much in rates paid, but in services and institutional risk profile. Eg, credit unions took nowhere near the hit that banks did in the housing meltdown, largely because their risk profile is substantially different.

    It is true that at its current size, TechCU won’t be able to do some deals. Its the same reason that Stanford CU doesn’t do super-jumbo home loans. It doesn’t sell its loans to investors, and so can’t tie that much money up in a single loan. That makes management feel like its hands are tied–“Look at all the money we could make on super-jumbos!”–but it also helps keep risk down.

    Really, “no” is the only vote here for the small credit-union member. If you need the services of a true bank, there are plenty of those around that you can use. Turning TechCU into one just eliminates an option. It’s not even clear that it would be a better bank than those already available.

    But management is ambitious.

  5. wahnny Says:

    It would be unfortunate, but if Tech CU does end up converting to a S&L/Bank, then what other (Bay Area) credit unions would folks recommend? Stanford? Keypoint?

  6. The Gilroy Alex Says:

    I’d vote no. There are few enough credit unions as it is.

    Tech – have to be involved in the tech industry somehow or you can’t join
    Stanford? Probably have to have gone there, taught there, etc.
    There are ones for teachers – have to be a teacher

    I use one that strangely doesn’t require that I be involved with tech (although I am) be a teacher, or have gone to Stanford. I’d hate to see it go away.

  7. herpderp Says:

    I’ll be voting No as well. The emails that they were forced to send me (thank you, laws) from the opposition sealed it for me. It’s a way for the people at the top to make money. If I wanted that kind of a bank, I would’ve stayed at Wells Fuckyou.

  8. SiO2 Says:

    #5, I use Keypoint.
    The good:
    With direct deposit, no monthly fees for checking. They link to a CU network so you can use other CU ATMs with no fee. And one of the account options includes rebating fees charged by out of network banks.
    There’s branches close to my work and home. Obviously this will not apply to everyone. There’s never a long line and the staff is friendly.
    They have a function for depositing checks through the website, by scanning.
    CD rates are average.
    web site works pretty well.

    The bad:
    mortgage rates are unreasonably high. Frankly I don’t see why anyone would go to them compared to a broker.
    Savings account rate is pitiful, but aren’t they all nowadays?

    for my purpose, short term money storage, it’s great.

  9. Jeff Says:

    I’m involved with the tech industry, but I hadn’t seen a compelling reason to choose TechCU over other credit unions.

    In particular, looking at the rates page, Star One credit union seems all around better — as long as you can qualify (reside in or work in or attend school in Santa Clara county). Not quite as compelling, is Provident CU who’ll take anyone living in the Bay area (even not-real-bay-area regions).

  10. Jb Says:

    Highly reccomend the former hp credit union – was Addison, and now – first tech federal after a merger – not quite as good as pre merger (customer service has slid a bit) but rates are good, you talk to live folks and they have some good products. Hope the no vote wins, but if not we’ve been happy customers for about 15 years.

  11. DreamT Says:

    I second the Keypoint rec’, been with them since they were AEACU – stellar customer service all 16 years. On trips abroad, their visa still charges 1/3 lower fee than regular banks/credit card companies. Their technology lags Star or First Tech (who both have fancy ATMs now and can actually read checks) but they’re trying, and as byproduct they’re usually forgiving of exceptional fees (reverse them when asked). They produce historical P&L when asked by a member. I’d never use them for a loan as they cannot be competitive, but for checking accounts (with quarterly interests, no monthly fees and free co-op ATMs) why go to a regular bank?
    Only thing is they can’t produce foreign currencies on demand.

  12. wahnny Says:

    It appears that TechCU will remain a credit union:

    “We recognize our members’ strong commitment to the credit union industry, and we dedicate ourselves to working within the credit union charter to ensure that Tech CU continues to perform safely, securely, and successfully in the future,” added Brenzel. “Our members have spoken, and we look forward to the future as we remain a very successful credit union.”

    Approximately 25% of eligible members voted, with nearly 77% of those voting against the conversion to a mutual savings institution.

  13. madhaus Says:

    Good find, wahnny. After all the mail and email and phone calls and unfair voting rules and Facebook page censoring and tracking code hidden in member messages, this statement from the CEO is competing with national politicians for a chutzpah award:

    “Members at the special meeting voiced frustration, saying we did not make a compelling case for charter change. We, too, are frustrated that we were unable to communicate our views effectively and in the open manner we would have preferred because of the regulatory process and the related rules that govern how credit unions can communicate about charter change with their members,” said Kamm.

    Yes! If only you had sent more mailers! If only you had called each of us 150 times instead of just 3! Dang those pesky regulators!

  14. No Thanks Says:

    Good Deal! The crooks did not win! Why did they think we want a big bank? We want a better deal than the rip-off big banks, that’s why we made the credit union in the first place. Now throw those wannabe Chase/Wells Fargo/BofA guys out of office and tell them to give back the $ they spent on teller-marketers to hassle us day and night. Who said they could give our personal info out to them anyway?

  15. Alex Says:

    Occupy TechCU!!

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