Credit Unions Deserve Credit

By Michael E. Fryzel, The Hill

The opinion expressed by the president and CEO of the American Bankers Association, in the June 23, 2014, edition of The Hill, is worthy of comment, despite it being a stretch to yet find another way for a trade association to criticize the efforts of a cooperative system that in the view of many Americans provides better financial services than the banks Mr. Keating represents.

For decades, many banks have considered credit unions to be a threat to their survival. Each year, these banks have urged Congress to place greater restrictions on credit unions to lessen the ability of credit unions to compete.

To put this picture in perspective, let us look at the numbers. As of March 31, 2014, there are 6,491 federally insured credit unions with assets of $1.1 trillion and 6,739 federally insured banks and thrifts with assets of $14.9 trillion. Does anyone, other than Mr. Keating, really believe the bankers lose any sleep at night over what credit unions are doing?

Keating claims credit unions have lost the aim of Congress to “make more available to people of small means credit for provident purposes.” He also says the National Credit Union Administration, the regulator of federal credit unions, should prohibit credit unions from serving individuals who may want to buy a boat and take out “jumbo” mortgages.

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