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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Self-Indulgence Trumps Integrity Any Day


Over the past 10-days, Priority One Credit Union's President, Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. has exhibited behaviors that could have made a wonderful study in human psychological disorders. 

Employees have noticed he appears worried on one day and the next capricious and temperamental and at other times, almost giddy and excessively talkative. Its a virtual emotional rollercoaster of highs and lows. 

Though often inflexible and erratic, increases stresses appear to be taking a toll on the undisciplined President, placing the credit union's gossip mill into full throttle. 

More than half way through the year and the credit union's financial performance remains stranded in the RED with no indication of when Priority One's misfortunes might change. 


On Monday, July 20th, the President expressed his dissatisfaction over mounting delinquencies and increased charge-offs and complained that his loan modification program has failed to attract the level of member interest he was so certain would be obtained. He still hasn't learned that he should conduct surveys and studies rather than relying on the concoctions from his wild imagination.


By Thursday, July 23rd, the President's mood had changed, again. The catalyst for the change occurred after meeting with CFO, Manny Gaitmaitan. During their discussion, the President ordered the CFO to slightly tweak the credit union's June 2009 financials. He insisted that a slight adjustment in reporting could make the financials much more palatable and would create the impression that business is on the upswing. Though "cooking the books" may not be an uncommon practice, at some point in time, President Wiggington is going to have to prove that actual improvement is occurring. 


By Friday, July 24th, the President prepared to meet with the Board of Directors. He appeared giddy and traipsed about the South Pasadena branch and even exhibited a rarely seen air of confidence. 


Following his meeting with the Board of Directors, the President hastily made his way to his office, closing the door behind him and appearing irked and displeased. 

Obviously, the Board wasn't enthused over the credit union's financials, even after these had been altered to lessen their negative impact. 


We'd like to extend our thanks to readers who over the past several weeks, have provided us with emails describing their personal experiences while employed by Priority One Credit Union. The amount of personal accounts sent us, attests that something is sorely amiss at Priority One Credit Union. Lately, he has escalated efforts to trap the people who he believes are leaking information to this blog. It's nothing less than hypocrisy that the worst violator of policy at Priority One is launching a witch hunt to capture employees he believes are violating policies as much as he is. Here are some of the comments sent to us in recent weeks:

"Charles took Diedra to the desk of the person he thinks is writing this blog. They talked about it while walking through collections, the loan department and the member service department."

"Rodger [Smock] told Charles that he knows who is writing the blog."

"Wigg says he knows who is giving you information and he's going to get them all."

"Charles was on his cellular telling someone that he has a camera in his office because he doesn't know whose going to get him."

"Wiggington says he is sick of hearing [the name of the woman he's accused of sexually harassing] and he wants that woman out of his life."

"The president has been talking about an employee who crashed the van and how the employee is costing him money and must have been on drugs."

"Charles was in Patti's office talking loudly about Yuling and saying he doesn't need her negative attitude and is going to get rid of her if she doesn't start doing what he says."

"Charles said Mr. Harris screwed everything up and he has spent years having to correct Harris' mistakes."

"Charles was in Beatrice's office telling her people are out to get him."

Well, it seems the President has no thought of guarding confidentiality. Why someone would choose to divulge confidential information in the presence of staff members who should not be privy to the information is quite frankly, inexplicable. 

The President says that he "doesn't know whose going out to get him." Really? Who would want him? Does he have any evidence that might lend credence to his statements or is this just more neurotic babbling from a man who loves fabricating stories?  


AVP, Rodger Smock, made his way through every department in the South Pasadena branch, proudly announcing that a recent article in the "Daily News" disclosed that readers of the publication voted Priority One the "reader favorite." If true, then why is the credit union experiencing an all-time high in accounting closures, reduced membership, and amassing complaints citing poor member services? The publication never mentions how many readers voted Priority One their favorite, so we'lll take the claim with the tiniest grain of salt. 


Gasoline Expense

We've recently discovered that several months ago, President Wiggington authorized that all Directors be provided with an allowance of $30 to cover their gas expense when having to attend monthly meetings. Most of the Directors live in or near  the city of Los Angeles. The roundtrip drive from their homes to the South Pasadena branch couldn't cost more than $6. So why are they being paid $30 to travel to and from the branch once day a month? And don't they serve as volunteers? 

Free Internet

The President also provides all Directors and Supervisors free Internet access. He is able to do this by remotely connecting them to the credit union's network. They are not employees of the credit union, they are supposed to be volunteer officers, so why are they receiving free Internet access? 

Educational Junkets

In earlier posts, we reported that in recent years, the Board was allowed to attend educational junkets, including traveling to Europe, Hawaii and most recently to Las Vegas. During each excursion, most of the Directors including it's Chair, Diedra Harris-Brooks, opted to skip the classes they were sent to attend and instead went sightseeing all at a cost to the credit union. 
Merit Increases

The President, angered by our frequent reporting about the freeze he placed on all raises just a few months ago, issued a memorandum on July 21st, containing the following message: 

"Performance reviews ending 2008 and their 2008 merit increase consideration must be submitted by Friday, July 31st. These must be reviewed, submitted and completed by this date for any past due 2008 merit consideration. No consideration for 2008 merit increase will be honored after July 31st."

At many companies, it's supervisors and Human Resources who are responsible for insuring performance evaluations are completed by their designated due date. Not so at Priority One where employees are required to evaluate their performance. Once completed, it is submitted to their supervisor for review. However, at Priority One, evaluations are sometimes late by as much as one year, pointing to a problem with both supervisors and the Human Resources Department who is to ensure the evaluations are completed on time. 

In  the meantime, many employees continue to work outside of their job classifications which is illegal under California Labor law and all employees are currently subject to a wage freeze.  

THE 911

The President recently disclosed that he is considering hiring consultants to delve out solutions needed to resolve the credit union's increasing inability strategies needed to spur business which has been in decline for more than one year. He says he hopes to focus on key problem areas including finding ways to reverse monthly losses, augment business development and finds ways of improving deteriorating employee morale. 

He also wishes to develop a means by which to identify "rebel employees" who he says are causing Priority One's decline. He has placed emphasis on the fact that the tactics used to terminate employees must be legal so to eliminate the potential incidence of lawsuits. 

It doesn't take a financial wizard to know that his plan will be costly and will offset the credit union's bottom line. What's more, isn't his plan the antithesis of his statements made during the annual meeting that he was seeking ways to reduce spending, "streamling", and "working smarter." We invite President Wiggington to explain what he meant by "working smarter" because what we are seeing isn't sagely or productive.  And is he using the monies saved from the company-wide wage freeze to hire consultants? 


COO, Beatrice Walker. has recently disclosed that she is planning to install the credit union's first Call Center which she is describing as an "one-stop Call Center." The new center will answering incoming calls formerly diverted to all branches, providing account information, transferring funds between accounts and opening new loan applications. However, isn't the ambitious and potentially costly plan inconsistent with President Wiggington's May 2009 declarations that he is seeking ways to reduce spending?

The COO has said she may want to install the center in the South Pasadena branch, in the space located behind the Teller line. What we find peculiar is that in 2008, the President purchased the credit union's current phone system at a cost of $600,000, insisting the system would circumvent having to create a Call Center. Evidently, like much of what the President attempts, the telephone system he selected without the assistance of his executive staff, has failed. Is this again an example of how Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. is "working smarter"? And are the President and COO using money that might usually be spent on wage increases, to build a Call Center? 

To save money, the credit union is also reducing budges once used in the development of new business, on marketing and needed to participate in community and city chamber events. Since 2007, the quality of credit union publications including brochures promoting products and services and the annual report have cheapened in appearance. Nowadays, the quality of paper and ink has been reduced suggesting President Wiggington doesn't understand the difference between being cost-effective and looking cheap. 


The credit union recently responded to concerns which asked what happened to this year's election. On July 28, 2009, President Wiggington issued the following notice:

Ballots have been mailed for the election of two (2) members to the Supervisory Committee. These ballots must be postmarked by midnight, September 15, 2009. The election results will be in the October newsletter.This info is being provided in the event a member inquires about receiving a ballot.

Several days after the deadline for submitting nominations had passed, Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. once again violated state law when he accepted a nomination from a member. The member had been coaxed by Director, Bobby Thomas, over a period of almost 2 months, to submit his nomination but the member missed the deadline. Despite being ineligible to submit his nomination, the Board Chair and President made an exception. But why violate state law? 

As we've mentioned in previous posts, Board Chair, Diedra Harris-Brooks, is a woman who likes the Board's and Supervisory Committee's current dynamic. The Directors and Supervisors are completely subservient to her every whim and never disagree with any of her decisions. Last year, the President revealed that he and the Board Chair had decided it was imperative that none of the Directors or Supervisors leave. To ensure current Directors and Supervisors remained unchanged, they first orchestrated the mailing of state-mandated notices announcing the election, to only those members who have a checking account and excluding the larger sector of members who only have a savings account. There plan may have worked had we not expose it on this blog.

When Mr. Davidson submitted his nomination, Director, Bobby Thomas volunteered to find a member who nominate themselves and thus reduce the chances of Mr. Davidson being elected. And though Mr. Thomas' nominee submitted his nomination after the deadline, Mrs. Harris-Brooks and the other Directors started a campaign promoting the nominee's name. So why did the Board Chair and President want to derail Mr. Davidson's chances to win a seat on the  Supervisory Committee? 

Two years ago, it was Dave Davidson who received an anonymous letter mailed to his home which exposed then AVP, Liz Campos, of having overdrawn her account on 24 separate NSF incidents to her Priority One checking account. An investigation which included an audit of Mrs. Campos' account revealed she had been kiting- a federal offense. She had used checking accounts from three different institutions to issue checks in amounts exceeding her account balances. The termination of Mrs. Campos, who the President described as his "friend", incensed the vindictive CEO, who publicly declared, "I'm going to get Dave Davidson!" Apparently, the President was unconcerned by the violation of federal law perpetrated by Mrs. Campos but incensed by the fact his hand-picked AVP was exposed. Doesn't that say a lot about Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. abhorrent character?

The tyrannical and unscrupulous Mrs. Harris-Brooks succeeded in retaining the almost all Black Board and the entire Black Supervisory Committee. Only time will tell what effects the scurrilous tactics employed by the President and Board Chair will have upon the credit union. For the two notorious officers, the credit union's reputation and integrity mean absolutely nothing when all their only objective is gratifying their insatiable wants.

Floundering in Quicksand


Since April, Priority One Credit Union's President, Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. has defied state law, refusing to post the credit union's Monthly Financial Income Statements.

We of course find his refusal more than a little peculiar when one considers his chronic declarations that business has improved. So why not post the evidence that would support your statement? He's also recently complained that he's tired of our frequent reports concerning his refusals to post the income statements. All we can say is, if your tired of reading about your refusals, then post the statements. 

Here again is the California code which describes the credit union's obligation to post the statements:

California Code of Regulations, Title 10, Chapter 1, Section 30.701(c): 

The Credit Union shall post copies of its statement of financial condition and statement of income in a conspicuous place in each office of the credit union or at a place convenient to the members as designated by the board of directors, where they shall remain posted until replaced by the financial statements of the next succeeding month. In lieu of posting copies of such financial statements, a credit union may post a notice in a conspicuous place in each office of the credit union stating that copies of the financial statements are available upon request, and the credit union shall make copies of the financial statements available to members upon request."

Having grown weary of President Wiggington's frequent defiance of state law, a member of the credit union recently filed a complaint with the DFI. The DFI contacted the President by phone and were told by President Wiggington, himself, that the financials have always been posted at all branches. The President lied. Not only did he lie to the DFI, but he immediately afterwards, called the Los Angeles, Van Nuys, Burbank, and Redlands branches and informed them that they would each be provided current statements, later that same day. 

The DFI whose investigation was minimal, at best, sent the following email to the member who filed the complaint:

The CEO of the Credit Union was contacted, and he stated that the statements are posted at each branch office. He did mention that there was a problem at their Valencia office recently where the current statements had not been posted and what was posted was stale dated. He indicated that this was corrected and the manager of that location was informed that the financials were to be posted as soon as they were received. He also stated that you may request copies of past financial statements, if you like. 

If you would like to file a complaint against the Credit Union, please let us know. 

Thank you, 

Consumer Services Office 
California Department of Financial Institutions

President Wiggington may not be an expert liar, but he is a liar. The member accepted the DFI's invitation and filed a second complaint. During the week of July 6th, the President received a letter from the DFI, accompanied by a form requiring his completion and signature. On Monday, July 13, 2009, the financials for the month of June were finally posted at all branches. The President was forced to concede to state law. It's obvious that President Wiggington would never have tried to hide the financials if business were actually as good as he says it is and his refusal to post the statements attests to his character and dishonest proclivities. 


As reported previously, during this year's annual meeting, the apparently nervous and heavily perspiring President assured attendees that the credit union remains financially sound though exerting every effort to hide the credit union's Monthly Income Statements. 

During the same meeting, Board Chair, Diedra Harris-Brooks said little about the credit union's actual documented financial performance and she announced that the Treasurer's Report would be read, however, the report was never read. 

Supervisory Committee Chair, Cornelia Simmons, declared as she does year after year, that the credit union is financially sound. If Priority One's performance were sound, why hide the monthly financials in defiance to state law and why would Mrs. Harris-Brooks have announced during the annual meeting that the Treasurer's Report would be read and then fail to read it? 

Prior to the start of the meeting, copies of the 2008 Annual Report were distributed though the contents of the report were never read or discussed during the 30-minute meeting which followed. However, we've reviewed the report and it shows that the year-to-date amount of Net Income is $4 million in the RED.  So how did Cornelia Simmons determine that $4 million in the negative is an indicator that Priority One's financials are sound? 

Last March, a reader sent us the following message:

If the NCUA takes over POCU..... and if you ask me to bet, I would say the clock is ticking... your blog is well known in the industry so I gotta believe that the DFI and NCUA are watching.I was looking around the POCU web site for the Annual Meeting date because one of your readers inquired, but before I could find the date, I found something that should catch some attention and make for an entertaining post if you’re interested. 

On the front page of their site they are advertising a $100k CD at 3.3% APY and a new auto loan rate of 3.49% APY. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that when you only have a spread of 19 basis points you’re going to lose money. Even if they had 0% charge-offs, which of course they won’t, they would lose money because their overhead per loan costs more than 19 bp. And that’s not including marketing costs or the fact that since they are already hemorrhaging money. How exactly can the afford to do this?

A few weeks later, the same reader sent us another message:

I do not see how they can save this ship. I seriously have to believe that 

1) They will be merged by 12/31; or, 
2) they will be liquidated by 12/31/09. 

Sad, really sad

We also received the following comment from another reader in response to our last post:

What happened to the election? The balance on the 20 million that was borrowed has not gone down. Or are they are making interest payments only!!!!!!!!!! $600,000.00 in interest payments

We've not calculated the actual amount that has been spent in interest alone against the $20 million loan borrowed in mid-2008 by President Wiggington. The credit union's finanical statements reference that payments made by the credit union approximate between $30,000 and $33,000 per month. What's more, the payments are only submitted to pay interest on the loan amount. Depending on when the loan may eventually be paid off in its entirety, the amount paid in interest may in fact exceed $600,000. Is this an example of the President's effort to work "smarter"?  

The June 2009 
Monthly Income Statement

The President has finally posted the credit union's Monthly Income Statement, albeit it against his will. Here are the figures:

Loans $114,441,315.16

Less: Allowance for Loan Losses

Net Loans:

Accounts Receivable



Investment in COOP

Investment in FSCC

NCUA Deposit

Accrued Income

Prepaid Expenses

Other Assets


Fixed Assets

Less Accumulated Depreciation

Net Fixed Assets

Total Assets


Accounts Payable

Notes Payable

Accrued Expenses

Dividends Payable

Suspense Accounts

Other Liabilities


Total Liabilities


Regular Reserve

Undivided Income

Total Equity

Total Liabilties and Equity

Operating Income

Income from Investments

Fees and Charges

Miscellaneous Operating Income



Employee Salaries/Bonus

Temporary Personal

Personal Time Off

Employee Pension Plan

Workers Compensation Insurance

Employee Medical Insurance

Medicare Expense-Employer

Social Security Taxes-Employer

FUTA Expense- Employer

SUI Expense- Employer

Life/Disability Insurance- Employer

Credit Union League Dues

Membership, Dues, & Subscription

Branch Lease

Property Taxes

Janitor Expense

Utility Expense

Building Maintenance


Security Expenses

Telephone Expenses


Share Draft Expenses

Equpment Maintenance

Stationeries and Supplies

Surety Bond Premium & Other Insurance

Depreciation- Furniture and Equipment

ATM Expense

Check Card Expense

Technology and Computer Expense

Miscellaneous Bank Charges

Education Expense-Staff

Education Expense-Senior Management

Education Expense-Supervisory Committee

Education Expense-Board of Directors

Training Expense

Advertising Expenses

Loan Promotions

Promotional Items

Member Research


Business Development Expense

Collection Expense

Real Estate Expense

Indirect Dealer Fee

VISA Expense

Credit Investigation Expenses

Lending Center

Lending Expense

Legal Expenses

Audit Expenses

Consultancy Fees

Associated Management Company

Shared Branching Expense

CUSO Expense

Provision for Loan Losses

Borrower's Insurance

NCUSIF Stablization Expense

DFI Admin. Fee

Cash Short (and Over)

Interest on Borrowed Money

Annual Meeting Expense

Board of Directors/Supervisors

Annual Retreat

ADP Charges

Credti Union Car Expenses


Mileage and Reimbursements

General Expenses

Courier Services

Storage Expenses

Branch Expenses

Other Losses

Merger Expense

Succession/Strategic Planning

Ballot Incident Expense

Total Operating Expenses

Income (loss) from Operations

Dividends Paid

Loss (Gain) on Disp of Assets

Loss (Gain) on Disp of investment

Franchise Tax Board

Total Dividends & Other Income

Net Income (Loss)

Net Income (Loss), Year-to-Date

NET INCOME obtained from the credit union's Quarterly Financial Reports filed with the NCUA 

Quarter Ending June 2008

Quarter Ending September 2008

Quarter Ending December 2008

Quarter Ending March 2009

Quarter Ending June 2009

No wonder the President felt emotionally driven to hide the credit union's financials. Priority One remains in the negative, but didn';t President Wiggington; Board Chair,  Diedra Harris-Brooks; and Supervisory Chair, Cornelia Simmons, describe the credit union as financially sound? Is there anytime when a negative Net Income balance indicates financial soundness? 


President Wiggington has a convoluted perception of what constitutes "thinking smarter." He implements a company wage freeze and reduces budget and then hires a COO. His alleged efforts to stabilize losses are chronically undermined by excessive spending. Not only have his decisions, like choosing to spend money on a $600,000 phone system and unnecessary updated email system, diminished the credit union's financial standing but his personal undisciplined behaviors, like his sexual harassing of a former female employee, have forced the credit union to spend monies on attorneys, investigators and consultants. What's more, during his approximate 6-week suspension, during which an investigation was conducted, the Board Chair, Diedra Harris-Brooks, deemed it prudent to place him on suspension with pay though all non-exempt personnel when suspended, are done so without pay. 

What's more, a few weeks following his reinstatement, the President was paid over $7000 for unused sicktime. Shouldn't he  have been ordered to pay for all attorney and investigation costs, particularly when the evidence proved he had indeed sexually harassed the former employee?

President Wiggington, the Board Chair and some of his other executives are depleted the credit union's financial resources, making certain that they remain employed and that they are allotted wage increases and bonuses. 


Emanuel Swedenborg, Arcana Coelestia, sec. 4299

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Star Struck


President Wiggington is one of our avid readers. Each day, he makes numerous visits to this blog anxious to read comments posted about him. We, of course, would not know this if he wouldn't walk around the South Pasadena branch sharing what he's read. 

The comments have evidently had a profound effect upon his psyche because over this past weekend, the President left his home on Saturday morning and drove to the main branch in South Pasadena, California where he met with the owner of Sepia Consultants. As the two entered the building, the President removed a list form his pants pocket on which were written the names of several employees. 

The President told the consultant that the names were of people he knows for a fact, are leaking information to this blog and writing our posts. When asked how he knows that these employees are involved in providing information to this blog, he replied, "I just know." Well who can argue with that type of evidence?

And so the consultant ran a scan of the computers he was directed to by the President. He checked the memories on each PC looking above all else, for evidence that an employee is writing the blog while at work from the comfort of their company assigned PC. 

After a few hours, the consultant his investigation and informed the President that none of the computer contained evidence that the blog had been visited much less written the employees the President suspects are what he refers to as "the blogger" or "bloggers." 

The consultant was of course paid using credit union funds. 

The President is apparently unable to fetter his far-fetched delusions, believing that some contingent of ninja-like employees is invisibly perpetrating a well planned assault against him. If only we were that clever. 

As with almost everything the President endeavors to do, his plan failed in great part because he couldn't refrain from discussing his plan in close proximity to employees. We're starting to believe that President Wiggington purposely sabotages his plans, even those that are fueled by delusions. 

What's more, didn't the President state during May's annual meeting that he was reducing spending, "streamling" and "working smarter"? Is hiring a private consultant to scan employee PC's an example of reducing spending, "streamling" and working smarter? 

It is well-known throughout the South Pasadena branch that Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. spends his days talking to relatives and friends using his company-issued cellular and that he spends hours each day perusing the Internet including visiting BMW dealership websites. He also indulges in 2 to 3 hour lunches each and every day. Isn't he defrauding the credit union by indulging in non-work related activities while being paid a high undeserved salary? 

In 2007 and 2008, he spent months visiting departments within the South Pasadena branch, breaking confidentiality and telling non-exempt staff about why he terminated certain employees. His disclosures were a breach of confidentiality and of state law. 

The Airport Branch finally opened but only after its opening had been delayed by numerous impediments including his rage that he was allegedly forced to open the branch. 

To date, he has defied state law, refusing to post the credit union's Monthly Income Statement. A complaint with the DFI by a member. The DFI wrote and called the President to inquire about the allegations leveled against him. The President lied, telling the DFI that the financials have been publicly posted each and every month, with exception of one month, when the statement was not provided to the Valencia Branch. Each month, we've called the Los Angeles, Burbank, Van Nuys, and Redlands branches, and each month we are told that the financials have not been made available since March 2009. 

A few days ago, the South Pasadena branch received a formal complaint filed with the DFI, contesting Mr. Wiggington, Sr.'s insistence that the financials have been posted. He has been given 30-days in which to respond. Undoubtedly, Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. is a chronic liar. 

As we've shown month after month, President Wiggington has proven incapable of stopping the cycle of decay he began in 2007. He refuses to listen to or accept constructive criticism, viewing it as an effrontery to his person. The credit union's decline in net income is the most obvious testament to President Wiggington's failures but his incessant gossiping, his chronic violations of confidentiality, his exaggerations, and his dispicable work ethic are all symptomatic of an officer whose only accomplishment seems to be stripping away the credit union's once strong financial foundation. 

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