ALBANY, N.Y. (2/10/09)--The New York Senate Majority Leader cracked a joke at the beginning of his speech to the New York Bankers Association Monday. But the real punch line came later--when he told banks to think out of the box and learn something from their chief competitors--credit unions. Banks need to think outside the box in solving the financial and mortgage crises, said Sen. Malcolm A. Smith, (D-Metropolitan). He noted that credit unions have "by and large escaped problems of our mainstream banking system." The 100 or so bankers attending reacted with incredulous laughter and some eye-rolling, said "The Daily Politics" blog in The Daily News (Feb. 9). Smith told the group: "I know some of you are sitting here and you might say, 'How can you come to this room and talk about credit unions?' The fact of the matter is, business as usual has to change." "We are all in this together, whether they are competitors or not," he added. Smith later told reporters, "I'm not here to make friends. I'm here to do what’s right for the homeowners and people trying to purchase homes….When you think about it, the credit unions are the only ones who basically did not have a challenge in the financial markets, so they did something right. And these guys have to take their head up and say, 'You know what, maybe we need to take a look at what they're doing as well.'" Mike Smith, president of the bankers association, noted that everything was on the table "but clearly with this audience, the credit unions, there's always going to be a reaction." For the article, use the link.