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Press-Citizen Optiva Letters, February 28, 2007
February 28, 2007
If you go . . .
• What: University of Iowa Community Credit Union vote on a name change. For members only.[Note: This material is copyright by the Press-Citizen, 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 Iowa City Press-Citizen.]
• When: 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday.
• Where: Quality Inn & Suites Highlander Conference Center, 2525 N. Dodge St., Iowa City.
It seems that administrators all have very high opinions of their own ideas and very little respect for opinions of the masses. If the current head of the University of Iowa Community Credit Union didn't want to work for an institution with the name Iowa in its title, he could have applied to Bank of America or to Veridian to work. Veridian, however, did not become an 800-pound gorilla in the credit union field under that name, but under the well-respected name of John Deere Community Credit Union.
The name Iowa is no drawback in the business world except in the minds of certain egomaniacal administrators. In truth Iowa is a name to be proud of and one of the most respected and recognizable brand names in the Midwest, as opposed to the name Optiva that has no name recognition value and sounds like a feminine hygiene product. The credit union is trading something worth a fortune to advertisers for something worth nothing to anyone, except, of course, the consultant to whom they paid a small fortune.
Once the name "University of Iowa Community Credit Union" is gone, it will be lost forever like many proud historical buildings torn down to make way for garish fast food shops that are here today and gone tomorrow. Vote to save the historical name as you would vote to save the Englert or Old Brick.
It seems somewhat strange to me that so many employees of the University of Iowa Community Credit Union have written letters advocating for the name change to Optiva. It makes one wonder how much encouragement these writers have had from the UICCU board and leadership to write these letters.
I have been a UICCU member for about 30 years and have always been very happy with the people and the service provided. I never questioned the integrity of those in charge. That has all changed with this ill-conceived idea to change the name at all, let alone to Optiva. The apparent main reason that the university wanted change has been debunked, and now we learn that another financial institution with the same name may sue if this goes through.
This whole idea is a boondoggle of the highest degree and must be stopped. We as members also should evaluate the performance of UICCU officers and board members and make a judgment made as to their competence to continue in their positions.
I am voting to keep the name and I urge others to do the same. Because of the by-laws members must attend today's meeting in order to vote. Please make time to participate in this important vote. I am scheduled to work a 12-hour shift that day and am looking at several options.
Weldon E. Heitman
I am a University of Iowa employee and have been a member of University of Iowa Community Credit Union for 16 years. I have always been pleased with its services. But now the UICCU board and staff are going to great expense to change the name to Optiva -- a name that is unoriginal, uninspired, and as a previous writer said, "dorky."
The October vote was marred by multiple voting violations. Since that time, UICCU's paid employees have been wearing buttons urging members to vote for Optiva, and they tell each "customer" (member) to vote for Optiva.
One has to wonder what is behind all this. The letters that support the Optiva name are mostly coming from credit union employees and their families. When I circulated a petition at work calling for a re-vote, every single member that I talked to -- about 20 of them -- thought the name change was dumb or suspicious.
How can the credit union be so out of touch with the members? What aren't they telling us? It feels like we are being hoodwinked.
When I came to Iowa City, I didn't know what a "Hy-Vee" was and thought it sounded like a convenience store. So "Optiva" seems OK to me, but I understand that many people oppose the name change because they love the old name. So what is it about the "University of Iowa Community Credit Union" that people like so much?" UICCU has friendly people, great rates and is a great place to do business, but is that why I like the name? No, it's the "University of Iowa," of course.
I love my credit union and I love UI, but they are two different things. The credit union has a personality all its own that is different than the university's. It is time the credit union had an identity all its own to match. I don't love the credit union because it's called the "University of Iowa Community Credit Union." I love UI by that name. I love my credit union by any name.
I didn't know what a "Hy-Vee" was when I came to town, but do now. And to me, it means clean, well-lit stores and "A helpful smile in every aisle." Optiva, to me, means the same things I have come to associate with the UICCU -- friendly people, great rates and a great place to do business.
I wish to express my support for the University of Iowa Community Credit Union's name change to "Optiva Credit Union." I have been a member of the credit union in excess of 30 years. I know firsthand how seriously the staff and the board take their responsibilities and their sensibilities to members' needs. I can assure all members that the name change to "Optiva" was given very careful consideration by the board and the staff and was only accomplished after prolonged discussions regarding the future of our credit union.
This board and previous boards, with the assistance of staff, have taken us from the 1960s and 1970s, where we had very severe limitations in our ability to provide services to the members, to a fully functioning financial institution with wide services for our members in their financial matters.
It is the board's intention to take us into the 21st century so that we can remain competitive as a financial institution and be better able to serve our members. I feel strongly that without this name change there will be real limitations in assisting our members in the future. It is my sincere hope and desire that all members of the credit union will treat each other with respect and consideration.
Lawrence L. Lynch
I have been a member and employee of the credit union for more than a year now. I must admit, I was quite surprised with how intense the October vote was. I realized how passionate our members are about our organization. Fast forward four months and we are still talking about the same things except now the truth is tainted and some members are stopping at nothing to gather support of their mission -- to derail the credit union.
Let's think about it. I work in the mortgage department. My job is to work with the mortgage community to either help individuals secure financing on a new home or get in a better financial situation through refinance.
What this last four months has become is a distraction. I am proud to work at an organization that prides itself at looking "outside the box" and finding a way to say "yes" to our members. I can't tell you how much fun it is to work for an organization that has a vested interest to help our members lives in our community. Our partners and members know that when they need help, they come to us to find a way.
Let us all get back to what we are getting paid to do -- enriching the lives of our members in the community we serve, not explaining all the false statements being spread.
In the past weeks, we have heard criticism of the name change of our credit union. This credit union has changed many people's lives, putting them on the right path to a much greater financial future. They actually care who you are, and most importantly what has happened to you in life. Time after time we hear people say what a wonderful place this is and how much you have helped our family.
This criticism is founded by one or two individuals who are short-sighted and unwilling to listen even when the facts are presented to them clearly, both in writing and verbally.
We have read over and over again false accusations, which tell all of us of the lack of integrity that these individuals possess. They should be ashamed and embarrassed at this show of how small-minded and narrow-minded they are.
I personally have worked at an institution where there was a name change, and it did mean much more than that, however, this is not that.
This seems to be just arrogance for 15 minutes if fame. If Tim Taffe and Jeff Cox are so sadly missing out on recognition in their lives, this is the wrong kind and the kind that in the end will be reflected negatively on them.
To better reflect our broader mission, our staff would like to operate under a new, more encompassing name, Optiva. I will also say that we have knowledgeable and forward-looking board members, and they enlisted the help of one of the best branding companies in the country to assist in coming up with this new name.
Much goes into selecting a name for an enterprise, and much time and thought went into selecting the name Optiva from the countless options that initially stood before us. The University of Iowa Community Credit Union name no longer tells the full story of what we do. And, beyond that, it's 17 syllables -- think of the efficiencies to be gained just in answering the phones for our more than 44,000 diverse members.
Optiva has been carefully, thoughtfully researched through a focused interaction with community members, credit union members, staff, management, our board and our various advisers, and found to be the best fit for us. Please trust the efforts of this large and dedicated group and join us in ratifying your credit union's new name at the naming vote Wednesday.