WASHINGTON (7/9/14)--Washington, D.C.-based newspaper The Hill featured an op-ed by Credit Union National Association interim President/CEO Bill Hampel that underscored that credit union membership is right for all Americans. The Hill, with a circulation of more than 24,000, reaches many legislators and other federal policymakers.
Hampel's letter is a response to a June 24 op-ed by the American Bankers Association that attacked plans to create a credit union to serve professional athletes and their families.
The proposed credit union, sponsored by the ex-spouse and the mother of professional baseball players, would have financial education as its mission and aim to meet the unique needs of professional athletes at all levels.
Hampel went on to say that while superstars with eight-figure contracts receive most of the attention--especially from the bankers--the proposed Players Choice FCU would serve all athletes.
"Our understanding is that the new credit union referred to by the leader of the trade group for big banks would provide financial management resources to athletes and their families, and serve a number of organizations focused primarily on professional and amateur sports," Hampel wrote. "Their membership would include associations and businesses, and would serve both active and retired athletes.
"Most pro athletes are not millionaires. Also on the list are minor league baseball, basketball and soccer players, many of whom have quite low incomes. A much greater portion of these lower-income athletes are likely to avail themselves of a credit union than would the high-paid superstars, most of whom are probably served by private bankers," Hampel wrote.
"A credit union makes sense for everyone, offering a place for the members to pool their resources and save for their futures and help their colleagues meet their own financial challenges in the meantime."
Hampel's op-ed comes a week after National Credit Union Administration board member Michael Fryzel weighed in on the same topic in The Hill, saying credit unions are part of a financial system that offers a wide variety of services to meet the needs of consumers of all types (News Now July 3).
CUNA's Hampel also refuted the ABA's claim that that professional athletes don't deserve membership to a credit union specific to their needs in a June 29 editorial by Wayne Green in the Tulsa (Okla.) World.