President Barack Obama understands the critical role credit unions play in the broader U.S. economy, Jason Furman, chair of the council of economic advisers at the White House, told GAC attendees Tuesday.
“We know that you provide better pricing and higher-quality service for [your more than] 100 million members than many of the alternatives,” Furman said. “We also know that because of your strong [community] ties, your loan performance often holds up better than many of your competitors. That’s good for your members, your communities and, from my perspective, for the overall economy.”
The credit union movement celebrated the 100 million memberships milestone in September. Since then, memberships have climbed to 102.3 million, CUNA reports.
Furman also said the administration acknowledges that ongoing financial reform has affected credit unions, and that he and the president are aware of CUNA’s ongoing legislative and regulatory proposals to address reform.
“While I’ll hold off commenting on specific proposals, we’ve always tried to strike a balance,” Furman said. “We would strongly oppose changes that threaten to undermine the fundamental protections achieved through financial reform. But there may be room for appropriate regulatory relief for small institutions. This is something we’d very much like to work with you on.”
Furman discussed the new economic policy the president unveiled during his State of the Union Address in January: Middle Class Economics, which aims to complete the recovery and set the stage for stronger economic growth in the future.
He said the concept is about creating an economy that grows faster and that allows more people to afford expenses such as college tuition, child care, retirement, and housing. “Many of you in this room play a role in many of the steps of that process.”