WASHINGTON (12/12/11)--The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) last week hailed credit unions for their "critical and irreplaceable" role in ensuring consumers have access to high quality and low-cost financial services. It also expressed support for maintaining credit unions' not-for-profit cooperative structure and preserving credit unions' tax-exempt status.
"In contrast to the policies and practices of for-profit financial institutions, as consumer cooperatives, credit unions provide low-cost and consumer-friendly financial products and services," the CFA said in its Statement of Support for Credit Unions. "CFA stalwartly supports credit unions and recognizes the critical and irreplaceable place credit unions have in Americans' lives and the key role they play in ensuring that consumers receive high-quality and low-cost financial services."
The CFA also expressly backed establishing an appropriate regulatory and lending environment that will enable credit unions to continue to thrive, and said allowing credit unions to continue to have access to a secondary market for loans and capital and to continue to offer small business loans to their members is vital.
The CFA's board unanimously adopted the Statement of Support for Credit Unions at a late November meeting in Washington. CFA Executive Director Stephen Brobeck noted that the CFA action came as more consumers are looking for alternatives to for-profit financial institutions.
"At a time when consumers are increasingly critical of for-profit financial institutions, it is important for not-for-profit, member-owned credit unions to survive and prosper and for all consumers to have access to credit union membership," Brobeck said.
"The CFA's statement is well-timed given the heightened consumer interest in credit unions that has surrounded Bank Transfer Day, and it helps to underscore credit unions' benefits to consumers," noted Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney. "We hope it will motivate even more consumers to turn to credit unions and discover the great value they provide on financial services."
Cheney added that the statement "reflects CFA's longstanding and deep-seated support for credit unions" and the value that credit unions provide to the nation's consumers.
CFA developed the statement in consultation with the credit union representatives on its board: CUNA's Cheney; Wright-Patt CU CEO Douglas Fecher, SchoolsFirst FCU CEO Rudy Hanley, Navy FCU CEO Cutler Dawson, National Association of Federal Credit Unions CEO Fred Becker, and CUNA Mutual Group's Larry Blanchard. The CFA is an association of nearly 300 consumer groups and cooperative organizations founded in 1968 to advance consumer interest through research, advocacy and education. CUNA is a charter member.
A news release highlighting the statement of support for credit unions was distributed by CFA to about 600 consumer media outlets on Friday.