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IBusiness WeekI media cover CUs views on lending more
MADISON, Wis. (11/4/09)--Business Week, a Kiplinger's editor on the radio, and a television station in Dallas all recognized credit unions' views in separate items broadcast the past few days. Business Week Online Friday carried an item that is scheduled for this week's print edition featuring a member of the CUNA Lending Council executive committee, Gayle Rust Gustafson, vice president of financial services at Rivermark Community CU in Beaverton, Ore. The article discusses what has happened to the credit machine in the economy and notes that securities--the shadow banking system--may be sputtering back thanks to a boost from the federal government. However, low housing prices have put a dent on home equity loans and lenders are trying to figure out how to be prudent in their lending. It notes that Rivermark Community CU made 442 auto loans in September, 33% more than the previous year. "I think peoples' confidence is returning, and they are feeling a bit more secure," Gustafson told Business Week. However, Rivermark is tightening its lending standards--it's cutting the amount of items, such as the unpaid balance on a trade-in vehicle, that a borrower can roll into a new-car loan. Kiplinger's also noted credit unions. Because rates in money market mutual funds are really low, not many people are making money. However, community banks and credit unions are giving regular banks “a run for their money,” according to Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger Personal Finance during a radio program Oct. 15 on WTOP News. “Community banks and credit unions are competing for your money, and they are generally giving you a higher rate of return on your savings,” Bodnar said. She noted that some financial institutions are giving their accountholders interest on checking accounts if accountholders agree to receive their statements through e-mail, use online bill pay and direct deposit, and a debit card for transactions. “If you’re willing to do that, you can make money,” Bodnar said. “On deposits of up to $25,000, interest rates are good if you play by the rules.” WFAA in Dallas, a Texas ABC affiliate, also interviewed Sharon Moore, president/CEO of City CU in Dallas, for a segment on interchange fees. “Interchange is the basis for how we clear electronic transactions, whether they are debit or credit,” Moore said. “As a financial institution, we issue cards and we pay interchange for our members’ cards. And if someone uses our ATM, we get interchange back. It flows in and out.” The legislation introduced in Congress would govern the interchange system by implementing rate-setting. “It’s been a free system that we’ve benefited from by offsetting the cost for running a card program,” Moore added. Retailers are promising that they’re going to lower the fees that financial institutions pay for a debit card transaction. However, the cost will shift to consumers, Moore said. The legislation is not going to be a “free lunch” as some people believe it to be, she added.
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