Letter to members of the U.S. House of Representatives regarding H.R. 333, bankruptcy abuse reform act.
September 4, 2002
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
On behalf of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and the 82 million credit union members across America, I strongly urge you to vote in support of both H.R. 333, the bankruptcy abuse reform act, and the rule to bring it to the floor when it is considered by the House. CUNA and credit unions have been vigorous supporters of the effort to stamp out abuse of our nation's bankruptcy code for years. With your support, we can realize meaningful reform of bankruptcy laws--ensuring that hard-working, honest Americans can still avail themselves of bankruptcy protection, but stopping the unscrupulous from taking advantage of the system.
The conference report on H.R. 333 includes three elements that are core to credit union support. These elements are: 1) protecting the ability of credit union members to voluntarily reaffirm their debts with their credit unions; 2) inclusion of a meaningful "means test;" 3) and mandatory financial education provisions. Our support for these elements has been unwavering.
Let me assure you that the need for bankruptcy abuse reform is greater than ever. The number of bankruptcy filings in the United States continues to increase, as illustrated by recent numbers released by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (showing, for the second quarter of 2002, the highest number of personal bankruptcy filings for a single quarter in history). Further, credit unions in 2001 endured a 19.1 percent increase in bankruptcy filings among their members, and losses from bankruptcies rose by 16 percent.
And let me further assure you that stopping abuse of bankruptcy laws is widely supported among voters. A national voter survey conducted by CUNA early this year--during the depths of uncertainty over the economy in the wake of the terrorist attacks-demonstrated that public opinion remained strong that the current system is being abused and needs to be corrected. We have no indication that these sentiments have changed.
CUNA's support of the bankruptcy abuse reform bill remains as strong as ever. I have enclosed a copy of an op-ed published by the American Banker, a financial trade newspaper, which I submitted to them. As you can see, we fervently believe that this legislation is needed to stem the abuse of our bankruptcy system. In fact, the passage of H.R. 333 is CUNA's single greatest legislative priority for this year. We view H.R. 333 as "must-pass" legislation.
Please vote in support of the conference report on H.R. 333 and the rule to bring it to the floor.
Daniel A. Mica
President and CEO