WASHINGTON (7/16/09)--In an interview with the PBS Nightly Business Report’s Susie Gharib, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Dan Mica said that CUNA “would be interested in” the new financial regulations proposed by legislators as long as they would replace some current regulations rather than adding to the heavy regulatory burden. Asked if CUNA is "opposing any new regulations for credit unions," Mica said that CUNA and credit unions have not publicly opposed all new regulation for credit unions, and have expressed a willingness to work toward reasonable regulation that would offer increased “transparency and access” to credit union members. However, CUNA and credit unions would seek to create “good public policy” that works to “everyone’s advantage” by seeking to modify any unneeded or excessive regulations, he added.
Much of the PBS segment focused on how CUs are faring in today's difficult economic environment, when more of their memebers are suffering job losses. That is certainly affecting credit unions, but many other businesses as well, Mica pointed out. Mica also emphasized credit unions have conservative underwriting practices and a willingness to work with members to modify or extend the terms of existing mortgage loans. That, in turn, has helped credit unions avoid high default rates, Mica said. While credit unions in troubled economic areas like Florida, Nevada and California are feeling greater strain, Mica said that many continue to do well, and credit unions in these areas are seeing “green shoots” and some signs of stability. While there are still ongoing challenges, Mica reported that credit unions in these areas continue to maintain strong capital ratios. In a pre-produced segment on CUs that preceded Mica's interview, BrightStar Credit Union in Sunrise, Florida, was spotlighted as an example of a CU in a hard-hit area that has continued to perform well. "We were never involved in subprime lending," said CEO Ralph Crockett. "We've had conservative lending practices and sets of policies, and we've always adhered to those policies and programs," he added.