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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Is it too late?


Several months, shortly following our first publication, we received an email from a reader, who based on his analysis of Priority One Credit Union's Monthly Income Statements, announced the forthcoming demise of the once prospering organization. 

Earlier today, we received a second email from the same reader, who pointed to the credit union's increasing delinquencies which in recently months, increased from $4 million to $5.9 million. The reader foresees *higher future losses" over the next 4 to 6 months. The credit union's financial statements disclose that delinquencies not exceed 4.75% which is substantial for a medium-sized credit union.

Our warnings, published over the past 9 months, have pointed to President Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. and the Board of Directors as the cost of Priority One's ongoing losses. The reader's assessments were correct. 

Anyone who cares about Priority One's future as a business and employer should be concerned. The worst case scenario could be the eventual closure or merger of the credit union which would be preceded by a take-over by the NCUA. 

It's clear, President Wiggington doesn't view himself as a problem. In fact, since 2007, he continually finds victims to are blamed for his failures. His ability to dodge accountability has been enabled by Board Chair, Diedra Harris-Brooks, who has single-handedly preserved his employment, tried to cover-up evidence of the Presidents violations of policy and state and federal laws, and who has used credit union funds to hide his abuses. It's quite incredible that the Chair who is responsible for ensuring the upward direction of the credit union is also the one person who is most contributing to Priority One's decline. 

At no time, since the credit union's founding in 1926, has any President ever conducted himself so incompetently. No other President has willingly immersed himself in embarrassing scandals or injured employee morale. President Wiggington has constantly demonstrated his disdain for policies and laws and has publicly exacted his will to satisfy his personal agenda. He has also revealed an addictive penchant for malicious gossiping and plotting against staff. 

Last Friday we received two more emails, both disclosing that the President is going to again address the subject of escalating losses. He will again talk about his alleged efforts to reduce spending, reducing staff size, replacing full-time staff with part-time staff, and reducing the marketing and business development budgets. There is a reason why the President frequently chooses to talk about his so-called remedial efforts to reverse the credit union's ongoing losses prompting us to wonder if he's being forced to do so by the Board of Directors. 

Despite his frequent assurances, we've yet to witness an actual reversal of Priority One's misfortunes. After all, its Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. who created the dynamic of loss currently afflicting the credit union. So why would we believe that the cause of Priority One's financial problems is going to be the person to resolve those same problems?


The President has also unveiled another plan designed to further reduce spending (has he actually reduced spending?).  The plan asks employees not to work once or several days a month, without pay. The President; AVP, Rodger Smock; and COO, Beatrice Walker, assert this will give employees more time to spend at home with family, maybe enroll in a class, travel, etc. Of course, all without being paid. Has it not occurred to the three overpaid officers that enrolling in school, traveling and even spending time with family, costs money? Did they ignore that non-exempt staff have families to support, rent to pay and food to buy. If as the President insists, Priority One's problems are caused by the national economy, then wouldn't that same economy be affecting every employee at the credit union?

The President is paid an undeserved annual salary of $150,000 plus. Mr. Smock owns rental properties and unlike President Wiggington, owns a nice home in Echo Park, California. 

Mr. Smock and Ms. Walker have said that if employees refuse to give up days each month, the credit union could be forced to implement lay-offs. Please note that no one in management is voluntarily requesting a temporary cut in pay. 

The President's solution is self-serving and comes at a heavy cost to non-exempt personnel. It adds a financial burden to most employees, something that has no impact upon the salaries of any of the managerial sector.

In his desperation to stop the cycle of financial depletion impacting the credit union, the President is forging solutions that continue to come at a heavy financial cost to non-exempt staff members. Furthermore, his solutions will not affect his salary or how he lives. His solutions are a win-win, but only for him and all executive staff. 

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Anonymous said...

I finally found this blog. Friends told me about it but they didn't tell me everything that's going on at priority. I'm going to try to read all the posts but this one is just unbelievable. What is wrong with president? Why hasn't he been fired? What's wrong with the board? They did hit there heads on the way whereever ignorant people go. If employee morale is bad it will be worse with an offer to take time off without pay. Who thought this up? Was it the COO? If so maybe its not only Wiggington who should get the boot.

Anonymous said...

John I thank you for this blog, you are a hero to many.

Observer said...

Yes, Wiggington is definitely at fault and he should have been terminated when the investigation of sexual harassment charges had been completed. Few companies would have kept a president who was found to be even partially responsible in committing sexual harassment. That said, the credit union should have reinvented its way of doing business. This means they should have developed sound marketing which means having a marketing director not a group of inexperienced staff whose ability was limited to advertising. Advertising and marketing are not synonymous, something the president and obviously the board and supervisory committee do not know. The credit union should have created improved delivery systems
to make sure members and people int he communities they served, were aware of what Priority was offering. The failure to do this can be blamed on the board as much as it can on the president. That Diedra should be grabbed by the back of her polyester pants and thrown out along with the useless board including that disappointing Bobby Thomas who hypocritically wants management at the US postal service to abide by contracts with the credit union but behind members backs, sneaks in someone to run for office. He needs a good kick in his fat ass. And the board of supervisors should also be removed because they have failed to carry out their fiduciary responsibilities for the credit union. Its not just Wiggington but he should be fired and the board and s. committee taken out. Pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Typical of P1. We screw up and you accept our offer to take time off and help us save money. To Wiggington, Walker and the others, why don't you take a 3-4 month leave?

John said...

Aside from some criticisms concerning the amount of posts on my blog which impede downloading and problems with font size, you can find reviews about at

Anonymous said...

Wiggington should be kick out of the whole cu industry. What a jerk!

Anonymous said...

Members can complain to the DFI. as a group and get Wiggington and the board out, but they have to want to do something. I have been reading your posts for awahile and cannot believe that members dont' feel enough for the place where they keep their money or the staff who could become another unemployment statistic.

Anonymous said...

Hope everyone who wants change at P1 voted for Dave Davidson.

Anonymous said...

When will the elections results be known?

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable this is Wiggington way of getting rid of anyone who he thinks is against him and is not part of his team. Does he not realized that’s everyone in the credit union,
Only the way he kissed ass to Mr. Harris and pretended that he liked him is what we do to him. Take 3 to 4 months without pay!!!! God I think he dose drugs or is off his rocker.
Wait maybe all the top executives need to take a cut in salaries as they all are making
well over $100,000.00

He is doing this to get rid of staff members who he “can not trust” and Rodger the head
of HR who is there to HELP the employees dose (again) not a dam thing but keep his lips on Wiggs ASS.

OK STUPID of we do not have a job how do the employees pay back the credit union on the loans and if you think John has shit on you now just let us go and
Watch what happens.


Anonymous said...

What the hell happened at the meeting? The COO went nuts or stupid. She started out ok and then got pissed and said people were saying she embezzled money. What the hell was she talking about? I didn't know she embezzled money! Her face got red like a baboons butt and she kept looking down and reading from these really BIG note cards. She said something like she was sickened. Sickened by what the rumors, having to work with Wiggington, or her bad dye job? I thought her skin was goin to peel off her face. Geez, take a pill and chill.

John said...

Did Beatrice actually say there were rumors that she embezzled? As far as I know, she has never embezzled or been accused of embezzling. During an investigation by the NCUA, Beatrice was called as a witness against Honda Federal CU temp employee, Kennae Rakeem Jeffries.
Mr. Jeffries was accused of ordering 2 VISA cards in each of his grandparent's names. He used the cards but issued checks from accounts with insufficient funds, to cover payments due on each card. His acts constitute fraud and kiting.

Page 3 of the "Recommended Decision and Order" states, "Walker, in her sworn declaration attests that she did not give Respondent permission or approval to open an account for any one who was not a credit union member, nor assist him by filling in an applicant's employee identificaiton number or mailing account applicaiton forms to anyone on his behalf. WALKER FURTHER ATTESTS THAT SHE UNDERSTANDS RECORDS INDICATE THAT SHE APPROVED A REQUEST TO INCREASE THE CREDIT LIMIT ON ONE OF THE RESPONDENT

On page 4, the NCUA wrote, "Respondent admits creating the VISA credit card accounts but asserts his manager approved them and increased the initial limits on them from $5,0000 to $10,000, apparently without reviewing the Douglas' (grandparents) credit which would have shown their undischarged bankruptcy filing. Respondent identifies his supervisor as Bea Arthur rather than Beatrice Walker."

On page 5, "Factual Findings and Conclusions of Law" 5, the NCUA states, " "Without revealing his relationship to the account holders or that they had filed for bankruptcy, HE OBTAINED SUPERVISORY APPROVAL to increase the credit limit on one VISA credit card from $5,000 to $10,000." There is no inference of embezzlment though the document clearly states she approved the increase in limit of one of the cards obtained by the ex-employee using fraudant information. You can find the document at

Anonymous said...

It was embarassing. After the meeting a lot of people were asking what she was talking about because they were shocked. Somebody said they thought she ws having a nervous breakdown. Now a lot more know about this blog. I think she was trying to twist it so people think the blog said she embezzled but it doesnt say that. Maybe she just doesn't read English. A-w-k-w-a-r-d.

Anonymous said...

As far as the COO is concerned all I can say is Coo-Coo! Coo-Coo!

Anonymous said...

What happened? That was embarassing. Did you notice she never even mentioned Wigg or even said that rumors about him are untrue. She did say we have to forgive. Employees are asked to sacrifice & forgive but Wigg and his dogs keep abusing rules and people.

Anonymous said...

Charles screwed everything up for the cu and us. Did they ask for us to help when he was spending $ we didn't have or when he decided to sexual harass or when he bought the phone sytm?

Anonymous said...

Credit Union

Bert McLane Chief Examiner 300 S. Spring Street, Suite 15513, Los Angeles, CA 90013 213-897-9351
Bruce Barnett Educational Employees 2222 West Shaw Avenue, Fresno, CA 93711-3407 559-437-7714
Michael Gomez Fiscal Credit Union 310 E. Colorado St. Glendale, CA 91205 818-553-8200
Teresa Halleck The Golden 1 8945 Cal Center Drive, Sacramento, CA 95826 916-732-2804
Andrew Hunter Patelco 156 2nd Street, San Francisco, CA 94105 415-442-7187
Barry Jolette San Mateo 525 Middlefield Road, Redwood City, CA 94064 650-363-1700
Tom Ott Universal City Studios 90 Universal Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608 818-777-7526
Linda White United Health Credit Union 1860 El Camino Real, Suite 100 Burlingame, CA 94010 650-231-1300

Anonymous said...

So what! to the above post.... with the exception of Bert McLane. All the others listed are CEOs of their own shop and they have no control over what's happening at P1...and as small as this industry is, most if not all probably read this least occasionally so they are likely well aware of what's going on. So what's your point?

Campbell said...

And if they could help, wouldn't they have at least provided something, anything that might have helped save the cu and its staff?

Anonymous said...

You've been writing about what Charles Wiggington has done and what the future might hold and now its not only come true but they fired 5 people.

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