HARRISBURG, Pa. (7/21/09)--Bob Marquette, president/CEO of Members 1st FCU, summed up the difference between credit unions and banks for a local newspaper in two words: "Our structure." Marquette, whose credit union is based in Mechanicsburg, Pa., said structure was the reason credit unions haven't needed to take the recession lying down (The Patriot-News July 20). "Because we have no stockholders, we're not driven to maximize profits every quarter. So we can take long-term view on things. If we want to expand branches and expand our market area, or improve our technology, and if the net result is that our net income drops, that's OK, we can do that," Marquette said. He noted that while others are retrenching to prop up their net income during the recession, the credit union doesn't have to do that. "We've not had layoffs here, ever. We don't have to take those drastic steps to increase our net income. That is a strategic advantage of ours. We're not in a market and out tomorrow." Marquette compared today's recession situation with the Great Depression, saying the Federal Credit Union Act was passed because "the for-profit financial institutions had abandoned the average American market because there were other areas where they could have less risk and be more profitable. In essence, they abandoned the average American." America's current financial situation is "scary and exciting," he said, noting that credit unions did not cause the "financial mess." The situation is an "opportunity for credit unions to show consumers what credit unions are all about." Members 1st FCU has $1.5 billion in assets. For the full story, use the link.