CUETS to be acquired by MBNA (a.k.a. Bank of America). Is this good for the credit union movement?

I have intentionally stayed clear of controversial topics on my blog posts, rather opting for light-hearted observations about credit union marketing and branding. I figure there are enough pundits proclaiming that mergers and acquisitions are the only way forward and that bigger is the only answer. But I had to pipe up about this one. I was doing my regular credit union site rounds when I stumbled upon this news release posted on Credit Union Central of Canada's website. It took me a moment to process what was actually happening here. Here is an excerpt from the release...

MBNA Canada Bank has reached an agreement to acquire CUETS, the largest MasterCard credit card issuer for credit unions in Canada. The acquisition significantly increases the size and capabilities of MBNA Canada Bank, a subsidiary of Bank of America.

I was struck with sudden realization that I now have two Bank of America credit cards in my wallet mascarading as Canadian credit union MasterCards. Is this the right thing to do? Doesn't this go against every fibre of the Canadian credit union movement? Am I just naive? The release continues...

...the sale is a strategic move that is in the best interest of CUETS, its credit union clients and their members. CUETS and its clients will now have the opportunity to incorporate the MBNA products, service and marketing strategies to achieve even greater results with their programs...

Yikes, how is this in our best interest? I thought a strong independent, non-US-bank-owned credit union system was in our best interest? If I wanted a bank Visa or MasterCard, I would get one. I choose to support the credit union system because I believe in it.

What do you think?


Vote 4 Tim Update. The campaign was a success! I received word Wednesday on our blog that I have been chosen to speak at the Forum Solutions/Trabian Partnership Symposium. It has been a blast putting my neck out there on YouTube. The reception has been phenominal. I encourage everyone to consider attending this conference—there is a great speaker and topic line up. Thanks again for all the positive feedback. The credit union social network is awesome!

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