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CUNA warns ad rule change could have consequences
WASHINGTON (3/1/11)--The additional cost of complying with the National Credit Union Administration's (NCUA) proposed changes to advertising requirements could force some credit unions to reduce or eliminate some of their current marketing practices, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) said in a recent comment letter. The NCUA at its December meeting approved a proposed rule that extends the NCUA's official advertising statement rule to all radio and television advertisements, annual reports, and statements of condition. In addition, for print advertisements, the official advertising statement must be “no smaller than the smallest font size used in other portions of the advertisement intended to convey information to the consumer.” NCUA board member Gigi Hyland was the lone dissenting vote and expressed concerns over the additional costs and totality of regulatory burdens for credit unions. NCUA board member Gigi Hyland was the lone dissenting vote and expressed concerns over the additional costs and totality of regulatory burdens for credit unions. Radio and television advertisements that are under 30 seconds long were previously exempted from including the NCUA's advertising statement requirement. "While we fully support appropriate, effective disclosure aimed at informing and protecting consumers, we strongly oppose many of the board's proposed changes and believe they will have negative unintended consequences if adopted as proposed," the CUNA letter said. The NCUA has claimed that adding additional disclaimers to these ads would increase consumer confidence, but CUNA noted that the NCUA statement could be "ineffective" and could "cause confusion and lead to a decrease in consumer confidence." CUNA said that additional disclosures may be ineffective because many consumers are not aware of the NCUA, and added that the burden of educating consumers about the agency should be "properly placed on NCUA and not individual credit unions." One credit union representative cited in the letter said that the NCUA disclaimer, which lasts for two seconds of a standard 30-second radio ad, cost the credit union over $3,100 last year. Revising and re-recording portions of existing ads to add the NCUA disclaimer would cost an additional $1,000, the representative said. For the full comment letter, use the resource link.


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