Nussle refutes ‘factually incorrect’ banker FOM claims to Congress

January 28, 2016

WASHINGTON (1/28/16)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) wrote to congressional leadership Wednesday to combat "factually incorrect" attacks from bankers on the National Credit Union Administration’s (NCUA) field-of-membership proposal. In the letter, CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle not only corrected the erroneous information put forth by the bankers, but expressed dismay at the reasoning behind it.

“Simply put, the letter provided by the American Bankers Association and Independent Community Bankers Association is factually incorrect and exposes a disturbing perspective on the part of America’s bankers that consumers should have less access to affordable financial services,” Nussle wrote.

“The loose analysis of NCUA’s field-of-membership proposal (FOM) articulated by the bankers’ letter is as disappointing as it is inaccurate,” Nussle added. “Here are the facts: Nothing in the proposal would allow credit unions to expand their fields of membership in an ‘unchecked’ manner. If this proposal is adopted, federal credit unions will still face limits on whom they may serve under the Federal Credit Union Act."

Nussle goes on to highlight how the Federal Credit Union Act gives the NCUA authority to implement FOM requirements, and that the current proposal modifies changes made by the agency in 2010 that added a number of restrictions not required by law.

Nussle also adds that, not only has the NCUA not exceeded its statutory authority, but the agency has not gone nearly far enough.

“While we support the proposal, NCUA could have proposed much more relief and still remained consistent with the law,” Nussle wrote. “The bankers seek to limit consumer access to credit unions, but Congress should be doing more to expand access to credit unions.”

CUNA’s letter was addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

CUNA continues to urge credit unions to file their own comment letters supporting the proposal before the agency’s Feb. 8 deadline.