THE PRESIDENT'S FIASCO
Last Wednesday, Priority One Credit Union conducted another of its all-staff quarterly meetings, during which employees are provided information about the credit union's performance and about changes the credit union will introduce to improve business. However, this quarter's meeting differed from all previous quarterly meeting conducted in over the past 10 years.
The information dispensed during the meeting about the credit union's performance could be described as unenlightening and even disinterest, but President Wiggington, AVP, Rodger Smock, and COO, Beatrice Walker, had plans to make this quarter's meeting one that will not be easily forgotten.
NOT AN ACADEMY AWARD PERFORMANCE
After covering the usual mundane financial topics which rarely ever reveal the credit union's actual financial standing, COO, Beatrice Walker, walked to the podium and standing before the room of attendees read from a piece of paper which she held tightly in her hands. During the several seconds in which she spoke, her voice quivered and she never looked up at her audience.
Segueing from the topic of financials, she nervously accused an unnamed group of employees of spreading rumors that she embezzled monies while employed by Honda Federal Credit Union. Despite her poor delivery, she got the attention of every attendees. She declared the rumors an utter lie and labeled them slanderous. She announced that there were two officers from Honda Federal Credit Union who would answer questions about the rumors and state in no uncertain terms, that Mrs. Walker was never involved in thefts of money from their credit union.
Employees looked around the room, searching for the two officers, but no one entered the room. Some employees turned and asked their workers if they'd ever heard rumors about Ms. Walker embezzling money from a former employer, but no one had heard the rumors. The reason why people had not heard allegations of Ms. Walker's involvement in embezzlement is because no such rumors had ever circulated at any of the credit union's branches.
HER TRUE COLORS
Ms. Walker was an accomplice in a poorly developed ploy to slander the writers of this blog and accuse us of fabricating rumors about the new COO, Of course, what we publish is factual otherwise would the President react so vehemently, launching campaigns slandering employee reputations? Ms. Walker's willing participation in the embarrassing and childish plot speaks volumes about her character, ethics, and her lack of self-discipline. We've wondered about Ms. Walker's character and her purpose at the credit union and the spectacle she created, confirms that she was hired by the President to serve as his own, personal tool. Furthermore, the officers from Honda Federal Credit Union who she said would answer employee questions, never materialized. It was part of the sham she willingly perpetrated.
Ms. Walker has been the subject of one of our previous posts in which we provide excerpts from an NCUA docket in which her name is referenced while she served in the capacity of Call Center Supervisor with Honda Federal Credit Union.
At the time, a temporary employee assigned to Ms. Walker completed two credit card applications in the names of his grandparents and forged their signatures. He next asked Ms. Walker to review only one of the two applications which she promptly signed without verifying the information contained in the document.
The employee later managed to increase the limits on each card. He began charging merchandise on each before an investigation revealed that he'd committed fraud.
When interviewed, he said Ms. Walker approved the increase limits for each card, she she adamantly denied.
Though we don't believe she authorized the increases on either credit card, she did approve one of the applications without conducted those procedures needed to prove the applicant's eligibility. At no time have we ever accused her of embezzling money or of even being an accomplice to her former employee's deception, but according to the NCUA documents she did approve one of the credit card applications which was a violation of Honda's procedures.
However, Ms. Walker's outlandish and embarrassing performance brings into question her ethics and why she willingly chose to bring attention to an incident that occurred while she was employed by Honda Federal Credit Union. What's more, she chose to distort the truth by intentionally perpetrating a lie. Her behavior is as disturbing as anything done by President Wiggington.
Here is an excerpt from page three of the NCUA's docket:
Recommended Decision and Order
"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 identification number or mailing account application 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 RESPONDENTS GRANDPARENTS ACCOUNTS..."
EFFECTIVE VS. INEFFECTIVE
Since 2007, the emotionally undisciplined President began removing departments and processes which once drove business through which profit was generated and membership, increased.
His reasons for decimating the Marketing Department and compromising security was borne out of his personal belief system which is spurred by his unfetter imagination. With President Wiggington, his beliefs are not based on tangible evidence but rather on what he believes is the truth.
Priority One was formerly known as the Postal Credit Union of Los Angeles. Due to its expansion and acquisition of community charters which expanded the scope of who could become a member, the credit union found it necessary to change its name to better express its relationship to members.
Under President Harris, the name was changed to Priority One Credit Union. The acronym of its new name is POCU which discreetly retained its former identity as the Post Office Credit Union.
Mr. Harris understood that importance of attracting member interest to the credit union's products and services was contingent upon effective marketing. In response, he implemented a marketing department which over the years, amassed annual industry awards recognizing Priority One's imaginative promotions and highly successful products.
At the time, the Marketing Department contracted the services of Andermahr and Company who helped in realizing the credit union's intended promotions. In the 1990's, the credit union asked Andermahr to help design a more modern logo for the growing credit union. At the time, Connie Andermahr affirmed the need for a new logo, stating "Because the credit union was changing its name and soliciting new members that were unaware of the credit union, it was very important that they promote their long history...."
Years later, an industry vendor publicly complimented Andemahr's for designing a 75th anniversary brochure for the Priority One which epitomized the credit union's long history by integrating decades old photographs of postal carriers and embodied in sleep, modern publication which meshed vintage photographs in a modern and tasteful production.
Priority One's former Director of Marketing said, "[Because] We want consistency, we do everything through Connie [Andermahr]" and adding, "Andermahr prides herself on achieving long-lasting relationships with credit unions-she has worked with credit unions other than Priority One CU nine, 13 and 21 years, respectively."
In regards to her company's relationship with Priority One, Connie Andermahr stated, "I like to be called a partner, so most of my relationships are very long. I'm able to be proactive in what we do on a marketing campaign. To win an award, there must be a super campaign and the creative brief must be extremely well planned" and adding that it is imperative that any business identify their competitors and find ways to differentiate themselves from other company.
In contrast to President Harris, Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. has no concept of the role of marketing to business. In 2007, he unexpectedly dismantled the Marketing Department, demoted its Director to Marketing Coordinator and instead, installed a marketing committee staffed by the Lead Consumer Loan Officer, the South Pasadena Branch Manager, the VISA Card Specialist, the AVP of Lending, and AVP's, Rodger Smock and Aaron Cavazos.
None of the committee's had experience or an education in marketing. Furthermore, their only responsibilities were to select graphics and copy for upcoming promotions. Subsequently, Charles R. Wiggington's less expensive marketing committee was nothing more than an advertising committee with no understanding of what was needed to study the credit union's diverse marketplaces. This was by far, one of the President's most inane moves and one which would cost the credit union tremendous losses.
On the surface, his excuse for dismantling the Marketing Department was to save money. In January 2007, he declared that his predecessor had wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars on marketing efforts and he promised he could achieve much more spending much less money. As time would prove. President Wiggington couldn't have been more wrong.
The committee was responsible for a series of failed promotions, often printed on cheap paper stock and utilizing unimaginative graphics and poorly written ad copy. It was also the marketing committee that created the annual reports which are frugal in appearance. It's one thing to be cost-effective and another to appear cheap. Charles R. Wiggington Sr. has achieved "cheap."
Erasing the Past
President Wiggington has spent more than two and a half years focusing on obliterating all memory of his predecessor and of those employees who were loyal to former President Harris. He's also indulged in malicious gossip, forging plots which slander employees, and creating stories to cover-up his miserable performance.
His decisions are wrought from pure, undisciplined, childish emotion. There is something disturbing about a person whose efforts are grounded in vengeance, but why is he driven to disrupt the credit union's working environment?
Instead of focusing on strategical planning, he is obsessed with undermining people who he is threatened by. He has often said that staff are jealous of him and resentful that he was appointed President but the basis for his statements is grounded in fear. He is paranoid and often stating that he knows people want what he has. He, by the way, has absolutely nothing that anyone would ever want or envy.
His incompetence has placed Priority One in a state of deterioration. His responses to problems is to implement quick fixes. And from what we've seen since 2007, he lacks the ability to stop accelerating decline.
In 2007, he refused to abide to security protocols and as a result of his refusal, ballots were mailed to members in envelopes on whose exterior were printed member account and social security numbers. Members responded angrily forcing the credit union to spend $100,000 on contracting the services of Equifax's Credit Watch program. The program was offered at no cost to members for a 12-month period and was designed to monitor member credit activity.
Recently, the President instructed the Member Services Department to try dissuade members who request enrollment in Credit Watch, citing that use of the program will incur costs to the credit union. Clearly, his offer to a free year's subscription to Credit Watch was disingenuous. What's more, it was he who caused the breach in security, yet the President continues in his refusal to accept accountability for his very avoidable blunder.
We believe someone will find Jimmy Hoffa and the Loch Ness Monster before we'll ever witness Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. act like the President of the credit union.