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Hill covered with CUNAs Treasury blueprint letters
WASHINGTON (4/1/08)—As part of comprehensive actions to alert federal policy- and lawmakers of concerns about the U.S. Treasury’s blueprint for regulatory restructuring, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President Dan Mica Monday sent a letter to every member of Congress. Mica expressed credit unions’ grave concerns regarding the Treasury plan that ultimately would phase out the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and place banks and credit unions under one regulator's oversight, as well as merge various charters into a single charter type. "The strategy regarding credit unions reveals Treasury's apparent total disregard for the uniquely democratic and consumer-owned structure of credit unions and the pocket book benefits from better rates and services their consumer/members are provided," Mica said in the letter sent to each House and Senate member. He underscored the fact that credit unions have not contributed to the current housing and credit problems the nation is experiencing. Yet the Treasury proposal, he said, "would eliminate one of the few sectors of the financial services industry that has consistently acted in the best interest of consumers." Mica urged the country’s lawmakers to “make a strong statement regarding the important role that credit unions play in helping America's consumers through these difficult economic times by quickly enacting H.R. 1537." He was referring to the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act, know as CURIA. CURIA would provide for a risk-based capital system, raise the ceiling on credit union loans to members for business purposes, and clarify that all federally insured credit unions are eligible to add underserved areas to their field of membership. The Treasury’s strategy regarding credit unions, Mica said, serves to reveal the department’s “apparent total disregard for the uniquely democratic and consumer-owned structure of credit unions and the pocket book benefits from better rates and services their consumer/members are provided." In a related story, NCUA Chairman JoAnn Johnson said in a statement that the Treasury’s plan “raises important issues about the optimal structure for governmental oversight of U.S. financial markets. She said that while the NCUA agrees with safety and soundness objectives, “we have significant concerns that the many consumer benefits of the credit union system would be threatened by any restructuring proposal that may blur the credit union charter and that eliminates the separate regulatory and insurance function for federally insured credit unions." The NCUA will conduct a detailed review of the Treasury report, Johnson said.


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