FEATURED:

Credit unions have a prudent regulator, not a ‘cheerleader’

It’s hard not to chuckle after reading Frank Keating’s latest rant on The Hill’s Congress Blog (“Time for Congress to tackle credit unions’ runaway regulator,” July 23) against credit unions and their federal regulator, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). Any time you see the bankers complaining about credit unions, know that life must be pretty good for the banking industry. 

Keating claims the NCUA is a “cheerleader” regulator. This is a pretty disingenuous criticism coming from an industry that has a seat set aside for a banker on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. The truth of the matter for credit unions is that the agency has been on a binge of regulation over the past several years, culminating in a new risk-based capital regime that is a solution in search of a problem. And credit unions continue to fault the agency on inconsistent examinations and questionable examiner practices. 

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Keating claims the differentiation between credit unions and banks is disappearing, yet banks remain for-profit entities and credit unions remain not-for-profit financial cooperatives. The tax treatment that bugs Keating and his cronies to no end is a function of structure and mission, not powers.

Field of membership has always been a key concern for the bankers. Credit unions originally used it as a credit-worthiness tool; bankers see it as a way to hold credit unions to a 1930s mindset. Tools to determine a borrower’s credit worthiness have evolved significantly in the past century, and, frankly, credit unions should not be boxed in from serving Americans. In the last several years, banks and other for-profit financial institutions have been fined billions of dollars for consumer abuses. In fiscal 2014, banks paid $24.7 billion in financial fraud fines. Citibank was fined $700 million last week — $700 million — a fine greater than the size of nearly 6,000 credit unions! With banks being fined this much for abusing consumers, the need for credit unions in the marketplace is indisputable. Congress and the NCUA should be looking for more ways to remove the barriers that keep Americans from joining credit unions.

The bottom line: Credit unions have a prudent regulator. The key differences between banks and credit unions are as strong as they have ever been. Credit unions need charter enhancement to keep up with the evolution of the financial systems. If the American Bankers Association thinks credit unions have it so good, we’re happy to work with them to convert their banks to credit unions.

From Jim Nussle, president and CEO, Credit Union National Association, Washington, D.C.


Arm military service members now

I had to wait almost a week to write this; I’m now as calm on the issue as I suspect I will be. 

As commander in chief of the armed forces, our president is ultimately responsible for disarming military sites across our nation (“Homeland Security chairman: Chattanooga attack could happen ‘anywhere, anytime,’ ” July 19).

Meanwhile, the vast majority of states allow the open carrying of firearms, most without a license. As a result, we have disarmed those who are the best trained and have sworn to protect Americans while allowing others to walk among them freely with legal firearms.

The only word that even remotely describes this is “stupidity.” 

The brave service members in Tennessee were like sitting ducks at a carnival arcade. I can think of nothing that could explain any delay in arming members of our military at home. 

From Tom Tyschper, Gilbert, Ariz.