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State regulators to oversee credit union vote today

Name of organization hangs in the balance

Dave DeWitte

The Gazette

February 28, 2007

[Note: This material is copyright by The Gazette, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of The Gazette.]

  IOWA CITY — State regulators have agreed to observe a University of Iowa Community Credit Union special membership meeting today at which a previous vote to change the credit union’s name will be reconsidered.

  The Iowa City-based credit union’s members narrowly voted on Oct. 4 to change the credit union’s name to Optiva, a change that was scheduled to take place on March 1. A group of credit union members petitioned for a new election, complaining of irregularities in the previous vote, and asked state regulators to oversee it.

  In correspondence to credit union management, Superintendent of Credit Unions James Forney asked for copies of virtually all documents connected to the election, and asked that all of the counted ballots be surrendered to a state representative ‘‘in light of the possibility that the results of the balloting may be contested.’’

  The membership vote is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Quality Inn, 2525 N. Dodge St., in Iowa City.

  Complaints about the previous election included failure by the credit union to use closed ballot boxes, the allowing of certain members to vote early, and failure to check the names of those balloting against a register of credit union members. Opponents also claimed that the credit union’s adoption of the name has already been challenged by a San Diego-based mortgage lender, Optiva Mortgage.

  Credit union officials have countered that the previous election was conducted in line with applicable regulations, and that the credit union has received regulatory approvals to use the Optiva name.

  The name change was requested to expand the appeal of the credit union to a broader cross-section of the community, according to a statement issued by the credit union’s management. More than 45,000 credit union members are not directly affiliated with the University of Iowa, it said.

  Name- change opponents had asked that today’s vote ask members whether to retain the ‘‘time-honored name University of Iowa Community Credit Union or to change that name to Optiva or any other name whatsoever.’’

  The credit union members will instead be asked to vote simply whether to uphold the previous vote or to reverse the previous vote.