WASHINGTON—Following a letter from the American Bankers Association's (ABA) to NCUA requesting an assessment of credit unions and their commitment to underserved populations, NAFCU is urging the agency to remain focused on priorities.
In its letter, the ABA called on NCUA to conduct a “top-to-bottom assessment” of what it said is the question of whether the credit union industry is “living up to its statutory mandate to operate not-for-profit and serve people of small means.’
NAFCU's EVP of Government Affairs and General Counsel Carrie Hunt has responded with a letter to NCUA, noting that NAFCU supports the agency remaining focused on priorities that will help the credit union industry.
Looking to ‘Extinguish’ Credit Unions
“The ABA’s request is nothing more than an intimidation tactic,” said Hunt. “The ABA has long sought to extinguish credit union competition from the marketplace, and the association’s promotion of a poorly conducted and factually inaccurate paper – that they themselves funded – should leave no doubt about what their real motives are.
“If the ABA is truly concerned about the well-being of underserved communities then it should immediately drop their lawsuits seeking to prevent credit unions from helping these exact same communities,” continued Hunt. “More so, the ABA should begin actively supporting and advocating in favor of legislation that would allow credit unions of all charter types to add underserved areas to their fields of membership. If bankers have truly reformed themselves and atoned for their behavior in 2008, they should step up to the plate and work to help people for once.”
Not Concern for ‘Average Consumer’
NAFCU said Hunt’s letter points out that the report lacks original data and analysis – providing little support for its conclusions. "When competitor institutions question our mission and principles, they do so not out of concern for the average consumer or small business, but to draw attention away from their own, less appealing legacy, and to eliminate threats to shareholder returns," wrote Hunt.
Hunt also said the report "fails to recognize the countless fines levied against banks and their endless attempts to thwart the law," pointing to the fact that banks have been fined at least $243 billion since the 2008 financial crisis. The fines alone would be enough to decimate the credit union industry.
"NAFCU supports a safe and sound credit unions system, a strong, independent NCUA, and a vibrant financial system in the country where credit unions and banks co-exist. It appears the banks want the entire pie for themselves," said Hunt in her letter.
NAFCU added it has long called for the credit union industry to be exempt from rules and regulations that were created due to the banking industry’s poor behavior.