MADISON, Wis. (10/3/08)--Credit unions have got to love the headlines that have appeared about them the past week in both local and national media while the nation struggles with the financial crisis. Two of the latest examples: "Forget Banks, Join the Credit Union," from West Orlando News
(Oct. 2), and "Credit unions are doing just fine," from Indiana TV station WFIE (Oct. 1). Credit unions "may be among the safest financial institutions in the nation, despite our nation's current economic struggles," says the West Orlando News
article. It notes credit unions are gaining recognition among consumers and on Capitol Hill for avoiding the problems that created the financial mess, and for being part of the solution.
Greg Smith, president/CEO of Pennsylvania State Employees CU and Bill Hayes, former chairman of the Pennsylvania Bankers Association, discussed the impact of the financial crisis on Pennsylvania consumers on the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) Wednesday (Life is a Highway Oct. 2). During the hour-long call-in show, Smith said credit unions are federally insured. He told how the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund is equivalent to that of the FDIC. (Photo provided by the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association)
In the article, Florida Credit Union League President/CEO Guy M. Hood tells about credit unions' federal insurance with the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and notes that "when it comes to personal finances, credit unions are here to serve, to counsel and to protect their membership compassionately." Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Chief Economist Bill Hampel explains that credit unions are in very good shape and that delinquencies are up but low in comparison with other financial institutions. (Use link for complete article.) Credit unions are providing a safe haven to investors during the financial crisis, says the WFIE Indiana story. It features Kate Baumgartner of Evansville FCU, and Ruth Gaon of Heritage FCU, Newburg, who have seen depositors moving money from banks to their credit unions (14 News
Oct. 1). In New York, Kirk Kordeleski, CEO, Bethpage (N.Y.) FCU, was interviewed Tuesday evening by NBC Channel 4 in Long Island about loans--specifically auto loans and mortgages. It's difficult to get loans because credit is being evaluated more carefully and there isn't as much liquidity, he told the news station. However, Bethpage FCU has liquidity and is able to lend to its members. Its loan portfolio has grown "substantially," Kordeleski told News Now
. Bethpage's mortgage portfolio grew by $300 million compared with last year--a 12% increase, he said. The credit union has seen growth in fixed and adjustable-rate mortgages, and is one of the few lenders in Long Island that can offer well-priced loans. Homes in the area go from $350,000 to $800,000, he said. "In a scary and shaky time, there seems to be an opportunity for us," he said. "Credit unions across the country are seeing deposit growth and [an increase in] lending." In Pennsylvania, Fox 43 News at Ten
featured a story about "Nation's Economic Problems hit Main Street in Mechanicsburg." Carol Fastrich, vice president of marketing at Americhoice FCU, reiterated the message that credit unions are safe, sound and secure. She told the station that accounts are insured by NCUA. WBRE TV, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., last Friday told viewers that the financial crisis has credit unions busier and focused its story on people who deposit their money in smaller financial institutions. It featured Mark Filbert, CEO of NEPA Community FCU, Stroudsburg (Life is a Highway
Oct. 2). (Use the link for the article.) In the Lebanon Daily News
, a letter to the editor by Glenn Rambler, executive vice president of Lebanon (Pa.) FCU resulted in an article, "Local bankers say customers need not fear," which featured Rambler and Jim Starr, director of marketing and media of Pennsylvania Central FCU. They mentioned credit unions' federal insurance. (Use the link for the full article).