A new American Bankers Association-funded study attacking credit unions is just the same repackaging of their usual false attacks, CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle wrote in Credit Union Times Thursday. Nussle’s op-ed responds to the study’s claims that credit unions aren’t living up to their mission.
“Right out of the gate, they accuse credit unions of losing sight of our common bond, arguing that the expanded application of community charters finds us growing for business-sake rather than to serve…Last time I checked, it was Congress, not the NCUA who granted credit unions the right to serve a common community bond, and they did so nearly unanimously (503-14 across the two chambers) because they recognized that 'the overwhelming majority of credit unions provide affordable financial services to working families across this country,'" he wrote. "I think we can all recognize that by expanding to serve additional communities around the country, whether opening a new branch or taking on a faltering bank’s assets, credit unions are only serving to bring those affordable financial services to even more working families.
“That’s doubly so when the alternative is a bank closing its doors, leaving whole communities without a financial service provider,” he added.
Nussle continues by noting that, despite claims that credit unions aren’t serving the middle class, “the mean household income for credit union members if significantly lower than that of bank customers, with a larger band of account holders’ income falling between $25,000 and $100,000.”
Other banker concerns, like subjecting credit unions to the Community Reinvestment Act, have already been addressed by CUNA advocacy, Nussle notes, that CUNA engagement with policymakers resulted in revised legislation that ensured credit unions would not be subject to the CRA (after initial drafts would).
“At the end of the day, the bankers have spent a lot of money to produce what they thought would be their hit of the summer, and they did it because they’re scared. They’re worried we have too much of the market (a paltry, if growing 9%),” Nussle wrote. “They’re worried that we hold $1.5 trillion in depository assets (never mind that they grew by $1.9 trillion in the last three years alone). And they’re upset that our constant willingness to step up and put our members and our communities ahead of our earnings reports continues to gain the admiration of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.”