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CU concerns reflect systems issues From the GAC
WASHINGTON (3/3/10)--While the broader concerns of the credit union movement were aired and, in some cases, allayed on stage at last month’s Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC), there was still much on the minds of conference attendees, who ranged from volunteers, to current CEOs, to recent retirees. The big ticket items for credit unions, such as potential action on interchange fees and overdraft protections, as well as the member business lending (MBL) cap, were all concerns for Schools First FCU’s Shelley Berryman, who said that these issues had particular relevance In her home state of California. MBLs, which have been an important focus of CUNA’s work in recent weeks, were also a primary issue for Nikkei CU CEO Erick Orellana, who said that his credit union, which is currently up against the 12.25% of assets cap imposed by existing regulations, would “open the flood gates” if that cap is lifted. And while Orellana said he is concerned by the state of the corporates, he said that his credit union does not depend on the corporates for investments, opting to use their access to payment systems. The corporate situation was also on the mind of Clinchfield FCU’s Sandy Lingerfelt, who said that she did not want to see her corporate credit union, which bore little to no responsibility for the current corporate credit union situation, punished for the misdeeds of other corporates. The sometimes overarching effects of regulations are a main concern for Wichita FCU Director John Davis, who told News Now that overregulation stifles some of the work his credit union tries to do, with a lack of interpretation, understanding, and enforcement of those regulations only serving to exacerbate his credit unions's issues. However, speaking as a newly-minted industry outsider, Robert Bianchini, who recently retired after many years of service with the Oklahoma and Rhode Island credit union leagues, said that, in spite of the recent “hard times” that have befallen the economy, credit unions have “wonderful opportunities” before them, particularly with respects to their relationship with small businesses. Small business lending is “a void begging to be filled,” Bianchini added. The opinoins are the result of random person-on-the-street interviews by News Now with credit union representatives waitng to meet the National Credit Union Administration board members at a reception during the GAC.


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