Home > Credit Union > Membership Never Felt Dumber

Membership Never Felt Dumber

[Guest Post]

It’s not Class Warfare. It’s Math.

Dean Christensen is Coast Central Credit Union’s million dollar man. Twice in 2011, his million dollar compensation package has been explained away in the North Coast Journal.

First, in the Journal’s February 17th issue, Heidi Walters explained how a report from the Orange County Register on CEO pay “missed the mark,” and “ran under the deceptively simple title ‘Credit unions lost money, execs made money.’” It was nothing but out-of-town journalists besmirching Humboldt’s finest… pay no attention.

Christensen’s salary made a second appearance in the Journal in September, when Walter‘s cover story “Giants of Nonprofit” put it in context by pointing out the “hundreds of thousands” in grants Coast Central makes to the community. Walter’s quoted Coast Central’s VP of Marketing, Dennis Hunter ($168,300 in 2009), who explained Christensen’s pay package ($1,001,700 in 2009) this way: “We kind of look at it as, we have $900 million in assets — we have to have someone qualified to run an organization like that.”

Well, Dennis Hunter makes a point! Let’s compare Coast Central with Provident Credit Union, another credit union about twice its size. Thanks to a law requiring credit unions to list the compensation of everyone making more than $100,000, and thanks to the wonderful non-profit-watch outfit GuideStar, such comparisons can be pretty easy.

Provident has 93,000 members to Coast Central’s 53,000. Its total assets and total liabilities are both about twice those of Coast Central’s and it has 290 employees to Coast Central’s 175. It pays 15 people more than $100,000 while Coast Central only has eight people getting more than $100,000. Provident’s headquarters is in Redwood City; Coast Central’s is in Eureka.

We’ll compare savings and checking account rates in a moment, but first let’s look at the CEO pay packages. Provident reported $711,000 in 2009 compensation to CEO Wayne Bunker. Coast Central? $1,001,000 to CEO Dean Christensen. Maybe it’s due to the high cost of living in Eureka compared to the Bay Area.

Hmmm. Onward to checking account rates. Provident pays 2.26% on up to $25,000 in its Super Reward Checking. Coast Central? Looks like they pay 0.10%. Provident pays its members 22 times as much.

Savings? Provident and Coast Central rates are about equal, but why would you put your savings in a term deposit paying 0.4% when you could have it earn 2.26% in checking?

What about mortgage rates? Provident’s at about 4%, Coast Central, 4.55%. Coast Central charges you more for a mortgage loan.

How do you feel about women in top management? Of Provident’s 15 employees paid more than $100,000 in 2009, seven were women. Of Coast Central’s eight, only one. (You could probably guess this: she’s in charge of Human Resources. But would you guess she makes only half of what Provident’s Vice President for Human Resources makes?)

It’s absolutely true that managing an institution with more than 100 employees requires competence and deserves reasonable compensation. But the idea of a non-profit is to contribute to the society that has granted it non-profit status, not just to be almost as competitive as the non-profit and for-profit outfits you supposedly replace.

Coast Central has grown under Christensen’s leadership. But here’s a nagging question: if you are not offering your members a deal anywhere near as good as larger credit unions, why should anyone be happy that you’re growing? If your CEO makes $300,000 more each year than the CEO of a credit union twice your size, yet you brag about giving away $20,000 here and $10,000 there, why should anyone be happy that you’re growing?

The answer, both times, is “you shouldn’t be happy.” Unless, of course, your last name is Christensen.

  1. Billy
    September 27, 2011 at 7:42 am

    How much does the average CCCU teller make? I’m guessing around $10/hr.

  2. Anonymous
    September 27, 2011 at 8:14 am

    How much do our dope growers make and don’t pay taxes on?

  3. jr
    September 27, 2011 at 8:40 am

    Chetco Federal Credit Union in Del Norte and Curry counties was taken over by the NCUA last Friday evening. Wonder how much their CEO, who was removed along with the Board by the NCUA, was paid. See the story in Lost Coast Outpost or http://www.triplicate.com. Mattresses never felt better.

  4. Anonymous
    September 27, 2011 at 8:40 am

    What you write is true. But how hard is it for customers to borrow money for home buying from each credit union? Knowing that might explain why some people prefer Coast over Provident.

    September 27, 2011 at 8:41 am

    And then there is CC’s recent hustle to get members to use their credit/debit cards more by offering cheesy “rewards” for using the card to earn points. In return for the crappy rewards stores will be raising their prices because it costs them $$$ to accept credit cards. So CC is making money by getting members to use their cards more and the members will pay in the long run.
    But- what are our options? Is there such a thing as a decent bank?
    Side note: Anonymous: get a brain. You post, like most of your posts, has nothing to do with the discussion.

  6. anoni-teller
    September 27, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Anonymous says:
    September 27, 2011 at 8:14 am

    “How much do our dope growers make and don’t pay taxes on?”

    How insightful. And relevant. Thanks for adding to the discussion.

  7. September 27, 2011 at 8:51 am

    One really impressive thing about Provident’s checking account is that it gives you the great rate from the first dollar, and only up to $25,000. They actually seem to be trying to provide a good deal to their middle-class members.

    I joined Coast Central a decade ago, after hearing that Bank of America had asked its employees to clean up around its ATMs on their own time. My service experience with Coast Central was so bad I returned to Bank of America after a year or two.

    I’ll definitely look into opening an account with Provident, which is open to anyone living or working in Humboldt County. A hundred bucks a year on $5,000 in checking definitely beats five bucks, and I *LOVE* the idea that they’re trying to help the little guy.

    Thanks, Heraldo!

  8. September 27, 2011 at 8:52 am

    Disclosure: I’m a Provident C.U. fan.

    How much does the average CCCU teller make? I’m guessing around $10/hr.

    I don’t know about CCCU but I asked one of the gals at Provident. I believe she said they make $15/hr, mostly because Provident’s HQ is in the Bay Area so they pay Bay Area wages.

  9. September 27, 2011 at 9:09 am

    You know, this is the sort of reporting that would make it worth paying for a newspaper. Too bad we don’t have one.

  10. skippy
    September 27, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Ditto. Nice report– and investigative article one wouldn’t have read anywhere else. Who was the Guest authoring this piece?

  11. September 27, 2011 at 9:41 am

    The author requested anonymity.

  12. A Guy
    September 27, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Then there’s the whole competence thing. When we moved to the area several years ago, we set up both personal and business accounts with CCCU. Without exception, they screwed up each and every transaction we conducted with them: money credited to the wrong account, inexplicable holds placed on funds, the list just went on and on. That got old pretty quick, so we looked around, saw Provident, opened accounts there, and have never looked back. We’d love to support the local business, but not when they don’t seem to know what they’re doing.

  13. Eric Kirk
    September 27, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I don’t know what the geographic requirements are for the Southern Humboldt Community Credit Union, but I have been very happy with their services over the years. I don’t know what they offer for interest, nor what their employees are paid at the high or low end.

  14. September 27, 2011 at 10:28 am

    CCCU used to give money to members every month. What was it, like three or five mystery numbers in the newsletter every month for $20? That was 10-20 years ago. Then they hacked it down to one number…and was it less money? Now there’s no payoff for suffering Dean’s glossy.

    Maybe spending member money/returns on member deposit investments on giveaways was not such a great idea, but the absence of a chance to gain something from reading that drivel makes the (member) expense of publishing and mailing the newsletter noteworthy.

    Guess I better go take back my $50…

  15. September 27, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Anonymous 8:40,

    You say it’s easier to get a loan at Coast Central. Maybe you’re right, especially if you know someone, but you pay for the privilege.

    Here’s a calculator that will help you see what the cited difference in mortgage rates means. On every $100,000 of 30 year mortgage, you’d end up paying Coast Central (4.55%) $12,000 more in interest than you’d pay Provident at 4%.


  16. retired guy
    September 27, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Does anyone know what the two credit unions are currently paying on saving accounts and CD’s? It certainly seems that Christensen is doing overly well, to say the least. I’ve been a member of CCCU for a long time, have been satisfied but I’ll be looking into Provident once my CD matures.

  17. Not A Native
    September 27, 2011 at 11:00 am

    I’m ignorant about Provident Credit Union. Does it have offices in HumCo?

  18. jr
    September 27, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Wabash at “E” Street. Used to be a Shell station.

  19. Wondering?
    September 27, 2011 at 11:07 am

    What is Dean Christensen’s relation to that wacky, presumptuous, far-right real estate agent Tina Christensen? The one who’s always howling about how her kids won’t be able to get jobs or afford to live here anymore?

  20. Curley
    September 27, 2011 at 11:18 am

    They live in the same county. Do try to get another smear against someone else in while you’re at it though.

  21. Deep Throat
    September 27, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Coast Central spends big bucks advertising how the members own the credit union. Bullshit. The members would be happy to cut Dean Christensens pay by half and give the savings to the members. That would be $10 to each of us. He would still be overpaid.

    By the way, it was only 12 or 13 years ago that he was paid $150,000 a year. I bet he is one of the top five highest people in all of the county, maybe even number 2!

  22. caliboy
    September 27, 2011 at 11:39 am

    If you want to run a credit union and do it different, put your shit on the line and do it. Your are as big a fool as most posting.

    Then you can decided on everything. Truth is you don’t have the brains nor drive to do much more than run your silly mouths on this blog.

    If you don’t like CCCU, then don’t use them. This is the USA, its allowed. Bunch of silly whiners.

  23. Wondering?
    September 27, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Curley – Sorry for asking, buddy. Or even daring to hold an opinion based on fact. I can see it really bothers you.

  24. September 27, 2011 at 11:51 am

    retired guy,

    Forget CDs on up to $25,000, they are not nearly as good as the deal Provident is offering.

    If you’re willing to set up a monthly direct deposit and use the free check card ten times each month (at a grocery store, for example), you get 2.26% interest on up to $25,000 in your CHECKING account at Provident. That’s good enough that if you have a CD paying less than 1% it’s worth taking the penalty for early withdrawal to move it. Credit unions are federally insured, and 2.26% beats anything you’d get even from investing directly in Treasury bills.

    The only catch I can think of is you’re not guaranteed that the special rate won’t end. But it’s no great loss to lose the current pittance from the banks — interest rates can’t drop below zero, so worrying that you’ll lose your guaranteed 0.5% by switching to 2.26% for the moment is just silly.

    (If someone knows of better rates from a different bank or credit union, please tell us!)

  25. Ross Rowley
    September 27, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Um, Provident isn’t at Wabash and E, that’s California State and Federal Employees Union #20. Provident is next to Safeway between Harris and Henderson next to Happy Donut.

    All salary discussions aside, when you think local and giving back a lot of money to the community plus the great many hours of employee volunteerism toward other non-profit fund-raising events over the past 50 years, do you think of Provident Credit Union? Because, I sure don’t.

  26. Auntie Arkley
    September 27, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Nobody deserves to make a million dollars a year. I don’t care what they do. Paying that much doesn’t guarantee a competent worker, but it does guarantee a greedy, money-worshipping worker! CCCU acts like just any other greedy, fascist corporation, but disguised as a “non-profit.”

  27. Anonymous
    September 27, 2011 at 11:56 am

    It’s too bad that fear and favor in the newsroom forces real journalism into anonymity.

    To be employed as a journalist, HSU desensitizes students to censorship. All Lumberjack blog posts are warned that their comments are awaiting e-mail verification and approval by the “site administrator.”

    If newspapers aren’t hiring, a post at the FBI is assured.

  28. September 27, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Oh, bullshit, Ross. If you’re paying your CEO a million dollars a year, you oughtn’t defend yourself by citing “employee volunteerism.” Bank of America tried to convince their employees to “volunteer” to clean up ATMs on their own time.

    If you know that Coast Central pays its tellers more than Provident, please tell us. That might make a difference. But if Coast Central’s big sales pitch is that, while ripping off their members, they send 10% as much to St. Joe’s as the difference in salary between their boss and Provident’s, you can keep that sales pitch to yourself.

  29. September 27, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Hey, where’s HiFi? Surely it’s not just Ross Rowley who’s going to be sent out to suck it up and defend greed!

  30. Not A Native
    September 27, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Thanks Ross, I’ll check it out.

    As to local involvement, maybe CCCU just blows its own horn more than Provident does. They’ve got a local PR person to get the word out how wonderful they are.

    And if CCCU donations just cover up an inefficient(or corrupt) operation, I’m not so sure they’re a real community benefit. After all, the donated money comes from the community, so its a matter of where the community’s support is going. I’d say million dollar salaries isn’t where most local people want their local support to be going.

  31. Ross Rowley
    September 27, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    You just had to make it personal, didn’t you, Mitch.

  32. September 27, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    You’re the one trying to trick people, Ross. You’re a financial advisor, aren’t you? What do you tell your clients?

    Fact is, Coast Central is a not-for-profit hiding a million dollar salary, and telling people that they’re wonderful for donating $25,000 to a few local groups. And this area’s press is so pathetic that it ends up defending them.

    If Humboldt were awake, Coast Central would never be able to get away with this scam, Heidi Walters would apologize, and Provident would end up employing the Coast Central staff, offering Humboldt better rates and probably paying better wages.

  33. Relishing the Brawl
    September 27, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Ross Rowley, takin’ in on the chin! Time to spit your water, daub your cuts, and come out of your corner fighting!

  34. Anonymous
    September 27, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Heidi’s “reporting” never even mentioned the compensation packages of CEO’s in the organizations she “focused” on.

  35. Anonymous
    September 27, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Provident accounts are insured through NCUA, not FDIC.

    If CC’s begin failing, (ludicrous exec salaries are one indicator), checking accounts have lower priority than savings accounts to repay.

    There’s method to their madness.

  36. Ross Rowley
    September 27, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Mitch, calm down. I am not a financial advisor. So, I’m not trying to “trick” anyone. That comment is really making me giggle out loud.

    I am just stating a fact. Coast Central Credit Union gives a great deal more back to the local Humboldt community than Provident Credit Union. And yes, CCCU does have a local PR person to get the word out how wonderful they are. Is there something wrong with that?

    From the CCCU Website:

    Coast Central Credit Union believes strongly in supporting our local community, and provides various sponsorships, scholarships, and donations to help keep our community strong. In 2010, we invested $250,457.36 in hundreds of community organizations, large and small.

    Community Investment Program Application
    Our Community Investment Program provides larger donations to anywhere from three to six local organizations every six months. Grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 are awarded, up to a total of $50,000 in each “round” ($100,000 each year).

    To their credit, This is from the Provident Credit Union Web Site:

    Provident Credit Union participates in its communities through donations, staff volunteerism, and Credit Union driven programs. With our roots serving educators through the California Teachers Association, emphasis is given to supporting local schools and educational programs as well as personal health and safety of our members’ communities.

    Ultimately, I guess I don’t really care how much a CEO of a non-profit or a commercial business is paid per year. But, I do appreciate how much a non-profit or for-profit business contributes to the local community. Sorry, if we are arguing in circles.

    By the way, I am not a member of CCCU. I belong to the California State and Federal Employees Credit Union #20. And truthfully, I don’t see them giving back much to our community, either.

  37. Plain Jane
    September 27, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    All credit unions are insured by NCUA, up to $100,000 per depositor or $250,000 for some retirement accounts.

  38. September 27, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Sorry, Ross, I must have you confused with someone else.

    But as for the “giving back,” argument… it’s a very, very, VERY dubious argument. The money that is being “given back” is money that would never have been accumulated to give back if Coast Central was offering its members the sort of deal you’d like to think credit unions are designed to offer. Taking $20 from me for something that would only cost me $15 somewhere else, and then giving a buck to a charity I like is not my idea of “giving back.”

    And, as for community involvement by volunteers, unless Coast Central is paying the volunteers for their time, I’m not sure what that has to do with Coast Central at all. Institutions love to claim credit for what their employees do, but the credit goes to the individuals, not the institution.

    If, like me, you click on the links in the piece, you’ll find that the donations are listed on the tax filings. They don’t even amount to the difference in CEO salaries. Honestly, my guess is they go to the organizations with people on Coast Central’s compensation committee. That’s the way these things usually work, isn’t it?

  39. September 27, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Anonymous 12:51,

    Thanks for the information. To your knowledge, has NCUA *ever* failed to fully repay all depositors at a failed institution?

    Here’s what NCUA.gov has to say. Unless checking deposits are not member deposits, I’d say your deposits at an insured institution are as safe as they can be in these times:

    Are My Deposits Safe?
    Member deposits in federal credit unions are
    insured to at least $250,000 by the National
    Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF)
    and backed by the full faith and credit of the
    U.S. Government. Member savings are also
    protected by a number of provisions in the Federal
    Credit Union Act and the standard Bylaws.

    Of course, NCUA is part of the federal government, and the federal government’s credit rating isn’t as good as, say, Walmart’s.

  40. jr
    September 27, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    It would be interesting to know what Steve Antongiovanni was paid when he was the CEO back in the 80s.

  41. Matt
    September 27, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    “Coast Central Credit Union believes strongly in supporting our local community, and provides various sponsorships, scholarships, and donations to help keep our community strong. In 2010, we invested $250,457.36 in hundreds of community organizations, large and small.”

    In other words, they could *double* their annual community donations simply by cutting the CEO’s salary down to a “more reasonable” $750,000.

  42. High Finance
    September 27, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    If you’re against it then I am supposed to be for it Mitch ?

    Sorry. I cannot defend a million dollar salary for a non profit as small as Coast Central is.

  43. Plain Jane
    September 27, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Right, Matt. They could also increase regular employee salaries, pay higher interest or charge lower interest, all of which would be very beneficial to the community as a whole and the “owners” in particular.

  44. Dumbfounded
    September 27, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    What? HiFi is not defending somebody’s million dollar salary? Heresy! Is the sky falling? Has the lamb lay down with the lion?

  45. confused
    September 27, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    I’m confused. You are FOR an out of area corporation (PCU does have a”corporate” headquarters afterall) because it fits with your hatred of someone who has in some way pissed you off. And so in this instance it’s ok to like a bay area corporation? PCU has quite a few Sr. VPs and VPs that also garner big salaries I’m guessing while our own local CC doesn’t have that big of a “corporate” staff. It seems to be working for CCCU, let them handle it.

  46. Anonymous
    September 27, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Uh, Ross… ever get paid to do any commercials for Coast Central?

  47. Ross Rowley
    September 27, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Uh, Anonymous…yes.

  48. skippy
    September 27, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Coast Central Credit Union lost $5.2 million in 2008. Granted, it was bad all over; the vast majority of credit unions lost money save for a few.

    There are more than 400 credit unions in California and Coast Central ranked 37th with assets of nearly $900 million. Mr. Christenson, comparatively, is approximately the 5th most highly compensated credit union executive officer– at $919,799.

    Some comparisons:

    CEO/President Jim Blaine of the State Employees’ Credit Union with assets of $20.5 billion, earned $707,871.

    CEO/President David Mooney of the $7.2 billion Alliant Credit Union earned $621,232.

    CEO/President Teresa Halleck of Golden 1 Credit Union with assets of 7.8 billion, earned $609,442.

    The reader is aware that credit unions are not-for-profit, tax-exempt, cooperatively ‘owned’ by their depositors, and must return any profits to their members as dividends or reinvest them as capital. In Coast Central’s case, a generous salary and compensation package for the CEO is also a nice plus.
    (information taken from the Credit Union Times and Orange County Register)

  49. Anonymous
    September 27, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    It is a business. They make a profit. They should be taxed. Non-Profit really means No taxes. What a scam.

  50. Jealous Wall Streeter
    September 27, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Yup, seems a bit excessive to me.

    At best, the board appears to be asleep at the wheel. Maybe the board now is hand picked by the CEO, as with most for-profits and non-profits alike.

    Or maybe there is a good reason and explanation for the compensation, I’m waiting to hear a defense from someone who knows something. A bit more detail than the ‘he deserves it’ from Dennis Hunter.

  51. September 27, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    I agree with High Finance. I can’t justify a million dollar salary for a non-profit in Humboldt County. However when I lived in Humboldt, Coast Central was there for me when I needed them. I’ve moved most of my assets to a Sacramento credit union now, but I still have accounts at Coast Central. I’m not sure what to do, besides call the people I know on CCCU’s board and tell them how I feel.

    What about you, Hi Fi? Assuming you do business with Coast Central, what do you do in this situation?

  52. grackle
    September 27, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    At first blush, it sure seems like excessive compensation to the CEO. I’d like to see the i board of Coast Credit is entwined with (what) other entities; is the pay an example of mutual back scratching? That is how most of corporate/banking/academic salaries and benefits have risen to such obscene levels in the last twenty years.

  53. High Finance
    September 27, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    While I agree that the pay is very excessive, I also want to state that Coast Central is a very good company and I have had nothing but positive experiences in my dealings with them.

    Don’t like the CEO’s pay ? Run for the board and/or put pressure on it’s board.

  54. Anonymous
    September 27, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Fascinating discussion, and I like the line that this is a great story, and it is fascinating to show that traditional media forms are not how we get our most valuable information, but rather from this site. To deride this as just a blog, when the vast majority of posters would never have known this info but for this blog is unfair. I also think that the numbers and CEO salaries of much, much larger CU’s show that his salary is excessive. If you compared it by assets, then Mr. Christensen is really massively overpaid.

  55. Anonymous
    September 27, 2011 at 5:50 pm


    Was that really you at 2:19 and 12:53? Have you been paid for work done on behalf of Coast Central, as you indicate at 2:19? If so, don’t you think it was ever so slightly misleading to state, as you did at 12:53, “By the way, I am not a member of CCCU,” without mentioning that you’ve been paid by them?


    My feeling is that a for-profit business should pay its CEO whatever the business’ owners think is appropriate. But if an outfit is getting tax advantages as a not-for-profit, it should be delivering to its members before it delivers to its officers. If Coast Central’s rates to its members are not the best available, I don’t believe it has any business diverting a million dollars a year from its members to its CEO.

    I’ve just signed up for a new account with Provident Credit Union, because I’ve really wanted to do my banking with a credit union, because Provident’s rates are great, and because my prior experiences with Coast Central (see my earlier comments) were so abysmal. I’m glad to discover there are alternatives, because I cringe every time I remember I do my checking with Bank of America. (The local people at B of A are consistently wonderful, but the officers are banksters, and I don’t like doing business with banksters.)

    For me, as usual, the saddest part of the story is the role of the local press corpse. I’m not shocked that a CEO wants a million bucks for running a non-profit. I’m not shocked that a back-scratching board or compensation committee found a way to justify the salary. The thing that leaves me dazed and confused is the way the local press acted as an enabler rather than a watchdog. But that seems to be increasingly common, and maybe I shouldn’t expect better. I still haven’t gotten over Cokie Roberts’ NPR coverage of Katrina, and how upset she was about the damage to the yachts.

    In America these days, we have the very best press money can buy.

  56. September 27, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    I gave up on Coast Central back in the late 20th century when some other artists and I set up a business partnership and tried to open an account there, which, of course, required all our signatures and which happened to be the same time they were running saturation advertising on tv touting how much they supported new and small businesses.

    After confirming on the phone the appointment time and what documents we all needed to bring and emphasizing that we were coming in from Eureka, Fortuna and Arcata, that one person was going to have to take time away from work and being told that they were ready and waiting for us, we all got there and were immediately told that we didn’t have some kind of paperwork and that we couldn’t open the account that day. I asked to speak to the manager, who absolutely did not care and gave us a “so what” attitude.

    I closed all my accounts within a couple of days and moved them to Six Rivers Bank.

  57. Mitch
    September 27, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    5:50 was me.

    One more thing, though. I don’t think there needs to be a straight line connection between assets and CEO pay. An awful lot of people in the “financial services industry” seem to be under the impression that it’s their money. It’s not. And that applies doubly when you’re running a not-for-profit credit union.

    Dean Christensen is an employee who has been hired to assist a membership in getting the best deals with their money. That’s his job. If he built up the organization by not giving its members very good deals, he’s not doing his job, he’s building an empire. And if he rewards himself with a million dollars by overcharging his employers on their mortgages and underpaying them on their checking accounts, he’s not much of an employee.

    Any non-profit board that fails to recognize that and act on it is just plain irresponsible.

  58. Anonymous
    September 27, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    run for the board. they have an interesting process for counting votes from what i hear.

  59. skippy
    September 27, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    From the February North Coast Journal article by Heidi Walters: “(CEO and President Dean) Christensen said CCCU’s volunteer board of directors sets his salary based on yearly performance reviews and on the marketplace — the board looks at salary surveys to see what other CEOs of comparably sized credit unions are making.”

    So, who are the Coast Central Credit Union Board of Directors?

    From their website, Coast Central is “led by an unpaid volunteer Board of Directors, composed of nine member-owners of the credit union.” They are:

    Ron Rudebock, Chairman
    Pat Brown, Vice Chairman
    Robert Gearheart, Ph.D., Treasurer
    Joyce Jury, Secretary
    John Gladding
    Denise Jones
    Brendan McKenny
    Kelly Walsh
    Diane Leiker

    The Supervisory Committee members are:

    Karen Zimbelman
    Paula Mushrush
    Diane Sharples.

    Their Mission Statement?

    “To be the primary financial institution for members by providing high quality financial services at competitively favorable rates, consistent with maintaining financial strength.”

  60. anonymous
    September 27, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    While the compensation is high, could the $900K include benefits…paid vacation, medical, etc? Or is that strictly the salary? You might be comparing apples and oranges with what could be a compensation package vs. straight salary scenario.

  61. September 27, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Doesn’t matter. Use CCCU for a car loan, maybe.

  62. Local
    September 27, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    Yeah, it’s sad to hear the truth about our seemingly “groovy” local credit union being just another scam pseudo-nonprofit. Knowing the truth about the shameful level of the CEO’s salary, and the complicity of the Board of Directors and Supervisory Directors, I will never bank there.

    My own Coast Central Credit Union story came when I first moved to Humboldt around 20 years ago and needing and wanting to do the right thing and bank locally. I went into the Hoopa branch and remember how unfriendly the tellers were to me (okay, I did have long hair). I thought to myself, “These people don’t deserve my business.” I then went to Humboldt Bank (now Umpqua). They’ve always treated me respectfully.

  63. Slots
    September 27, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    Rich guy bad

  64. Herman
    September 27, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    A million dollar CEO…what a rip off… will transfer our savings account (large) to a bank.

  65. Charles Hurwitz
    September 27, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    I’ll do the job for $750,000. Hard times and all………………

  66. Anonymous
    September 28, 2011 at 7:13 am

    Imagine if a quarter of the people reading this asked Coast Central to match Provident’s dividend and mortgage rates, and moved their accounts if Coast Central refused. That would get their attention. Nothing else will.

  67. Blackcoffee
    September 28, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Raise rates and lower the compensation package?

    What does a Credit Union President do?

  68. owltotem
    September 28, 2011 at 9:41 am

    I swear by provident!!! Mary Huber is a Queen!!! The tellers (especially Linsey) are 100% trustworthy!!! My SuperRewards kicks Butt on any CD anywhere !!! A CHECKING ACCOUNT!!! Oh and the ACCUMULATOR rocks too. I found Provident hunting for CD rates about 10 years ago and after standing in Wells Fargo line for the umpteenth time to have an erroneous fee reversed I jerked it ALL for the last time and brought my personal banking home to Provident. Love them, swear by them. I only wish they offered lending on commercial real estate.

    Oh yes and by the way, after 10 years, at the end of every year at the bottom of every statement…fees paid = $0 dig it $0 THEY PAY YOU TO USE YOUR MONEY!!!! Remember back in the day when banks paid you to use your money? The branch manager of B of A in Eureka (on 4th street, Jeremy?) actually said out loud to me, “We are not in the business of handling peoples money for free, it costs money to provide the services we offer and we expect our customers to pay for it”! I thought to myself… not at Provident.

  69. owltotem
    September 28, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Oh yes and last I saw, 3.15 on a 10 year residential realestate loans, no points and investment property is eligible. SNAP!

    Oh and loans for Renewables and Energy Efficiency that almost meet Umpquas Greenstreet (not quite but close).

    And believe me, PROVIDENT SUPPORTS THE LOCAL COMMUNITY!!!!! (without big signs and fanfare) it is just what they do!

  70. Bolithio
    September 28, 2011 at 10:13 am

    I’ll do the job for $750,000. Hard times and all………………

    Thats it right there. There are probably millions of people who would be qualified and motivated to do this job for 100K. Or play baseball, or act on TV, or what ever. Let alone taking the remaining money and care for their employees well being. Our compensation for CEOs is analogues to our whole damn system; broken.

  71. Anonymous
    September 28, 2011 at 10:23 am

    “Mitch says:
    September 27, 2011 at 10:43 am
    Anonymous 8:40,

    You say it’s easier to get a loan at Coast Central. Maybe you’re right, especially if you know someone, but you pay for the privilege.”

    Actually Mitch, I never said CCCU made it easier to get a loan. I asked Heraldo to find out if they did.

    (I am Anonymous 8:40).

  72. Fed up
    September 28, 2011 at 11:00 am

    I plan to withdraw my savings, Roth IRA and traditional Roth IRA in protest over this exorbitant salary. I hope many others do the same and make their reasons clear.

  73. Anonymous
    September 28, 2011 at 11:00 am

    There I go, jumping to conclusions again. Sorry, Anonymous 8:40.

    In any event, it would be a fairer world if more people knew that the difference in cost between a 4% mortgage and a 4.55% mortgage is $12,000 in payments. (Fixed rate, 30 years.)

    As for the CEO compensation tied to the non-competitive rates, the only way this is ever going to change is if people start moving their business elsewhere when they discover they’re being ripped off to feed obscene salaries to the greediest. I’ve expected this to happen eventually for at least twenty years now, but America has more masochists than I’d ever have guessed, feel-good ads work amazingly well, and if you’re feeding today’s media they’ll all happily roll over when you pet them.

    Hell, you expect greed from bankers, but credit unions were supposed to be different.

  74. Anonymous
    September 28, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Oops, I left out that the difference in cost is $12,000 per $100,000 of mortgage.

  75. Mitch
    September 28, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Me at 11:00 and 11:02. Too many computers.

  76. Mitch
    September 28, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Blackcoffee asks,

    “What does a credit union president do?”

    Glad you asked, blackcoffee. Many people don’t understand how difficult the job is, and why it rates the high pay it does.

    After six months of required weapons training, you are sent off to Afghanistan to help our young people in uniform. You spend a year living in a tent with no hot water or showers while guerrilla fighters shoot at you. But it’s important that you do your part to defend our economic system and way of life.

    When you come back, there’s two years of back-breaking manual labor as you dig ditches to provide proper sanitation to your community. It’s hard work, but if you expect to make a million, you need to understand the value of hard work.

    Your training continues with a year as a teacher’s aide in a classroom for severely handicapped kids, followed by a year as a nurses aide at a hospital or hospice. This helps you learn the value of money, and also helps you develop enough sensitivity that you understand when money alone is insufficient.

    The worst is yet to come. After these years of training, you are expected to get up by ten every morning, report to a stuffy office and spend much of the day having meals and golfing with people you can’t stand. And, every day, you have to walk past your tellers, each of whom works for a month to pocket what you get in a day. That can’t be easy for a sensitive person.

    So, the next time you see a million dollar credit union CEO, please be nice to them. It’s harder than it looks.

  77. Anonymous
    September 28, 2011 at 11:29 am

    “We have the very best press that money can buy.”

    When I expressed anger at the American media for complicity in government wrong-doing, an older, more experienced member of my family said, “People all over the world know that journalists say whatever they are paid to say.”

  78. September 28, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Mitch: Desperately wanting a “+1” button (since I’m gradually moving over to Google+).

  79. Apologist Not
    September 28, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    “All credit unions are insured by NCUA, up to $100,000 per depositor or $250,000 for some retirement accounts”.

    When the insurance is needed the fund is divided-out among depositors at $0.50 on the dollar until it’s depleted. Checking accounts have the lowest priority. Provident knows this.

    The Great Depression was actually a huge fire-sale for the rich. The bailouts were a huge welfare check for the rich. The New Depression once again enables the rich to prosper in hard-times as Americans continue to shed their assets, just like the 1930’s, at a fraction of their cost and value.

    There’s even a new reality-show airing in the Bay Area where the high-bidders on poor folk’s storage units get to ransack people’s stuff on TV.

    Whoever paid the least, for the most valuables…..wins.

    Despite the Dow-Jones mantra of prosperity, the empire will continue its decline until the free-trade agreements are canceled and reasonable Tariffs once again protect American workers…like the immigration laws that still protect doctors and lawyers.

  80. Mitch
    September 28, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    “Apologist Not” is wrong about NCUA insurance. Accounts are insured to $250,000.

    From NCUA:

    · What is the NCUSIF insurance amount?
    o Properly established member accounts in federally insured credit unions are insured up to the Standard Maximum Share Insurance Amount (SMSIA). The basic insurance amount is $250,000 per individual account holder, per federally insured credit union. This includes principal and posted dividends up to a total of $250,000. Joint account holders are insured up to $250,000 per joint account holder, per federally insured credit union. For example, an account with two joint account holders is insured for $500,000 separately from the holders’ individual accounts. This includes principal and posted dividends. IRA and KEOGH accounts are insured, separate from other accounts, up to $250,000 per institution, including principal and posted dividends.

  81. Mitch
    September 28, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Fully insured, dollar for dollar.

  82. Emily
    September 28, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    My little cccu vs. Provident CU story…buying a car at a local dealer. Before car shopping, I did some finance shopping. Provident had the better deal. Selected vehicle, filled out all their forms, tell clerk I will finance with PCU, clerk prints out forms and they say CCCU. Clerk tries to sell me CCCU. Prints out new forms. Weeks later, title for new car arrives. Listed as lender -CCCU. Call PCU, they had it fixed.
    Would appear that there is something sweet between CCCU and local auto dealer? OH YES…they are “giving back” to the community. Never mind.

  83. September 28, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    I bought a new car via CCCU at a dealership then they tried to tell me I had to pay a higher interest rate. That did not happen.

  84. skippy
    September 28, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    A friend was buying a car at one of our dealerships and explained that he didn’t need the car company’s financing as he had already checked with CCCU on their rates. The dealer said his financing was through CCCU, too, but the rate he could offer was slightly lower.

    Apparently CCCU provided the car dealership with a better offering rate than it does for its own customers, my friend noted. He saved about $400.

    (nice post at 11:14, Mitch)

  85. Apologist Not
    September 28, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    Sorry Mitch, I wasn’t clear….my 12:13 quote was taken from Plain Jane @ 12:57.

    The remainder of my comments are accurate.

    Even the FDIC now offers a disclaimer that its payouts are limited to funds available, whatever that means.

    The right-wing wants government to run like a business and that’s certainly how the insurance biz operates. Makes you wonder how it’s legal to even use the word “insurance”.

  86. dafaulk
    September 29, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    I moved my $$ out of CCU years ago to PCU, got a great mortgage rate, got a better checking rate, got friendly service…

  87. Anonymous
    September 29, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Rob should call Harvey Keitel, he’d clean that sucker up before the CCC even gets there.

  88. Anonymous
    September 29, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    oops,wrong thread.

  89. Mitch
    September 29, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Meanwhile, Bank of America today announced they will charge $5 per month for the use of their debit card.

    I’m glad I’ve already opened the Provident account, and I’d urge others to do so.

    I also hope others let CCCU know what they think of their CEO’s salary. This sort of CEO salary escalation is based on the simple fact that one person will fight for their million more than 50,000 people will fight for $20 each. The only thing that stops it is when a large enough portion of the shafted make it clear that they’re fed up, and express a willingness to stop being milked.

  90. Blackcoffee
    September 30, 2011 at 9:08 am

    I did some research and found an example of a bank president…

    … Mr. Drysdale in the Beverly Hillbillies.

    So is his job like that?

  91. Auntie Arkley
    October 4, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Nobody deserves to make a million dollars a year. Period.

  92. High Finance
    October 4, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Does that go for the left as well ? Madonna, Matt Damon, Warren Buffet, Obama, Ted Danson, etc.,

  93. October 4, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Does that go for the left as well ? Madonna, Matt Damon, Warren Buffet, Obama, Ted Danson, etc.,

    HiFi, Sure, tax at Eisenhauer era rates.

  94. whaaatusaaay
    October 4, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Non-profit is a tax status, not a business plan.

  95. Migh Finances
    October 4, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    How many more times must I lie about the higher number of deductions in the 1950’s, before you liberals start to believe me?

  96. Anonymous
    October 4, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    TaxMe, his name was Eisenhower. He helped keep America free from being ruled by Hitler and Tojo. Let’s show him the respect of spelling his name right.

  97. Reich Winger
    October 5, 2011 at 12:17 am

    Eisenhower was wrong.

    American’s were at our best when taxes were low and most citizens were impoverished.

    Looting the U.S. Treasury, perpetual corporate resource-wars, losing businesses, homes and jobs in the tens of millions, will rekindle the revolutionary spirit that made America great.

    You can thank your “New Depression” and those that made it possible.

  98. October 5, 2011 at 7:36 am

    “Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”
    ― Dwight D. Eisenhower

  99. Mitch
    October 5, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Eisenhower also famously warned of the oncoming military-industrial-(congressional) complex. But Eisenhower didn’t have to contend with today’s propaganda tools and media ownership.

    Eisenhower explained that only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry could keep from happening to our liberty what we have allowed to happen to it. How alert do you think our citizenry is today? How knowledgeable does the teevee make it?

    Today’s mainstream liberal would have been considered a conservative in the 1950s. Today’s conservatives would simply not have been considered. We’d just won a war against fascism, and nobody was particularly anxious to see it implemented here.

  100. Plain Jane
    October 5, 2011 at 7:46 am

    President Eisenhower didn’t foresee the rise of the right wing media brainwashing machine created by this “tiny splinter group.” Of course, it’s not his fault he didn’t because he couldn’t have known that the American people would be so stupid as to allow the Fairness Doctrine to be revoked.

  101. Apologist Not
    October 5, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    This topic started making too much sense for our resident sophist, and frequent anonymous hate-monger, HiFi.

    No comment on the tyranny that Eisenhower predicted?

  102. High Finance
    October 5, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    The biggest “hate monger” seems to be the troll Apologist Not.

    Get a life & quit following me around.

  103. Fact Checker
    October 5, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    ” Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

    Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

    This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

    In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

    We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together. ”

    -Military-Industrial Complex Speech, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961


  104. Apologist Not
    October 5, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Once again, call-out Hi-Liar with an inconvenient question and all he has is his tired “leg-humping” satire.

    Pathetic troll.

  105. Mitch
    October 6, 2011 at 8:11 am

    Rep Brad Miller of North Carolina, home state of Bank of America, has introduced legislation to make it easier to switch banks.


  106. High Finance
    October 6, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Just a honest question Apologist Not.

    How old are you ? You sound very young.

  107. Fact Checker
    October 6, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    “How old are you?” Have you ever heard of privacy, No Class?

  108. Apologist Not
    October 7, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Indeed, it was just an honest question Hi-Liar:

    “No comment on the tyranny that Eisenhower predicted”?

    Answering the debate with a childish slur is the behavior of a troll.

    But…..you know that already.

  109. High Finance
    October 7, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Eisenhower did not “predict a tyranny”.

    Eisenhower also made his statements almost 60 years ago. The problems he commented on did come to pass but the problem of the Cold War was more important.

    Unfortunately this is a dangerous world and we will always have enemies. Those who think the world could just all hold hands & sing kumbaya are the dangerous ones.

  110. Plain Jane
    October 7, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Eisenhower’s point was that it is a dangerous world and we need a full time military industrial complex, but that we shouldn’t let them gain too much political power. Oops!

  111. October 7, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    HiFi @ 12:58
    What is the relationship of war spending
    in the US vs. the rest of the world?
    And you condescend with Kumbaiya?

    In Humboldt is that called fiscally conservative,
    or just cruel and stupid?

  112. Plain Jane
    October 7, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Eisenhower had a unique perspective on the military industrial complex and the people behind it due to his military experience seeing it from one side followed by his presidential experience from another. Papa Bush had 2 perspectives as well, but one of his was from the CIA side of it and he cashed in on it big time.

  113. Plain Jane
    October 7, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    Dubya will inherit his payoff.

  114. Apologist Not
    October 8, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    60 years later and Hi-Liar still inflates the “dangerous world” fantasy that grotesquely overstated actual threats during the Cold War to fuel the rapid growth of the military industrial complex.

    Squabbling over whether or not Eisenhower’s warning was a “prediction” of tyranny is silly and pointless because it came true.

    In his 1971 classic, “None Dare Call it Conspiracy” right-wing author Gary Allen describes in great detail how the same clique of wealthy families influenced U.S. policy to end Congressional declarations of war to enable their banks and industries to legally sell supplies and weapons to our (real and imagined) enemies, (especially during the Cold War), removing the threat of being tried for treason.

    Tyranny always has its cheerleaders hiding behind the U.S. flag, willfully ignorant that the public’s wealth is being looted to fund an out-of-control military. They’ve cheered every one of the bombings, assassinations and third-world coups orchestrated by the U.S. followed by the IMF/World Bank austerity measures that keep people impoverished.

    It’s no coincidence that unprecedented divestment from America’s human resources mirrors the austerity measures imposed on the third-world.

    It was simply a matter of time before the empire turned on its own.

    And the traitors are cheering for more!

  115. Mitch
    October 18, 2011 at 8:50 am

    In an excess of zeal, I contacted the National Credit Union Association three weeks ago to see what they had to say about “Apologist Not’s” assertion that they’ll only pay $0.50 on the dollar. This created case #16059-10332 of 9/28/2011, which was resolved this morning, as follows:

    The rumors you have heard are incorrect.

    The information you quote fro our website and brochures describing share insurance coverage are current and correct.


    NCUA Consumer Assistance

  116. April 29, 2012 at 4:39 am

    This article has convinced me to switch to provident. Thanks a bunch!

  117. December 2, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    Sad end to this story, beloved branch manager Mary Huberis gone from Provident CU. I was recently told no more telephone/teller transfers (to avoid service fees for excess electronic transfers) and $6 fee’s to research checks. So much for free freindly banking. I am shopping, any ideas?

  118. December 4, 2013 at 11:54 am

    thanks for posting another comment on this post. This I did not realize. I’ll do my best to change my credit union when I can.

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