WASHINGTON (3/12/13)--Credit unions are a good deal for all Americans and there is a credit union for everyone, Paul Gentile, executive vice president of strategic communications and engagement for the Credit Union National Association, told Bloomberg Radio Monday.
"Not everyone can join each credit union, but there is credit union for everyone, and to find one, all a person has to do is go to aSmarterchoice.org and answer three simple questions," Gentile said.
When asked about the difference between credit union and banks, Gentile explained that credit unions are member-centered financial institutions that have no shareholders to satisfy the way banks do, so benefits flow directly to credit union members, providing them more favorable terms on loans and interest rates.
This was especially true during the financial crisis, he added. "Credit unions continued to lend to meet consumer demand when banks did not," Gentile explained. "Two million people joined credit unions last year, and we want to see regulations loosened so we can lend more," he added referring to 1998 legislation that put in place a lending cap for credit unions.
CUNA and credit unions back legislation, reintroduced in Congress last month legislation, that would raise credit unions' member business lending cap to 27.5% of total assets, up from the current 12.25%. Doing so would generate $14.5 billion available for member business loans--and increase jobs by 158,000 in the first year without costing the taxpayer, according to new statistics from CUNA.
"We think increased lending by credit unions can really help the economy going forward," Gentile said.
Credit unions are financially strong enough to undertake more lending because they have a less-than 2% delinquency rate nationwide, and they have more than 10% in capital and are well-positioned to meet loan demand, Gentile said in response to Bloomberg questions.