What does it mean to be a member-owner of a credit union? Every member is an owner, and every member has 1 vote, regardless of balance size, account activity, number of accounts, or length of time one has been a member. By voluntarily closing your account, you are giving up your membership rights, and thus, ownership and voting rights. Perhaps this is what management wants, as it sure seems like it! The new $3 monthly membership dues, more accurately described as obscene and unfair fees, will give Arizona Federal almost $6 million extra to play with as a forced “contribution” from the members. Many members think of this as theft, because there is no way to avoid it, short of closing your account, or having it closed once the fees take an account into the negative! Furthermore, most members feel they are not receiving a good value for the involuntary $3 weasel fee automatically deducted from their accounts.
Is the $3 monthly weasel fee fair, just, or necessary? No!
While credit unions have democratic representation, unfortunately, problems occur, when the Board of Directors and management do not listen to the will of the people, the 100,000+ strong member-owners of Arizona Federal. It appears the Board of Directors blindly followed management into this morass. Arizona FCU now exhibits the arrogant attitude of “We are not for everyone.”
Sure, one way to protest is to close your account, give up your ownership, voting, and membership rights – which in turn, avoids the fee. However, is it wise to give up your ownership rights? If you jointly own a house with your spouse, and get into a dispute with your spouse, is it fair for the victimized party to simply walk away forever, leaving the house to the spouse who remains in the house? If you jointly own 50% of a business with a business partner, is it fair, ethical, or honest for one partner to create a hostile work environment, to force the victimized partner to leave, and leave their ownership rights behind? Is it fair for the more powerful party to push out the less powerful, to create a hostile environment to run off the other owners, as Arizona FCU seems to be intentionally doing with the monthly $3 weasel fees? If someone tries to steal your car, jewelry, wallet, do you simply let them take it from you without defending yourself or filing complaints in the form of a police report?
At Arizona FCU, those who instituted the $3 monthly weasel fees should cancel the fee, refund all current and past members who were charged the $3 monthly weasel fees, and cancel the $25 rejoining fee. Alternatively, management should be the ones forced out for damaging the credit union by focusing on short-term profits instead of creating long-term value. Management should be forced out for creating stress in members lives with a monthly $3 “theft” from their accounts. Management should be forced out for introducing a program that is most harmful to people of modest means. Management should be forced out for the so-called $3 membership dues that are not mutually beneficial for most members.